New England Shrimp Boil With Mussels
One of the best things about living in New England is summertime seafood. They are delicious and plentiful. My family takes full advantage of what the the sea has to offer this time of year.
We love any kind of seafood boil. We prefer a lobster boil for special occasions. For a regular family dinner, our go-to is a shrimp boil. Because my family is a fan of mussels and steamers, I like to include one or the other as well. This recipe calls for mussels, but feel free to swap them out for steamers. Or use both for a win-win combo!
So what goes into a typical New England shrimp boil? Obviously shrimp. It also includes corn, smoked sausage (kielbasa, chourico, or linguica), potato, and onion. (In southeastern Massachusetts where I grew up, we like to add hot dogs as well!) Everything is boiled in an Old Bay seasoned broth. How could this not be good?
This is a perfect one-pot meal. Everything is added in succession, with the ones requiring the longest time to cook added first. Serve with some melted butter for dipping the mussels. This is one fantastic meal!
More information about this recipe and additional images can be found at In Good Flavor.
New England Shrimp Boil With Mussels
- 4 quarts water
- 1/2 cup Old Bay Seasoning
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 cloves garlic
- 2 large onions, quartered
- 2 pounds red or golden potatoes, quartered
- 4 corn, shucked and halved
- 1 pound chourico, cut into 2-inch chunks
- 1 pound linguica or kielbasa, cut into 2-inch chunks
- 2 pounds mussels
- 8 hot dogs
- 2 pounds (16/20 count) shrimp shell-on extra jumbo shrimp, deveined
- 1 1/2 cup melted butter for dipping
- cocktail sauce (optional), store bought or my recipe
- lemon wedges for garnishing, optional
- Bring water, Old Bay, bay leaves, garlic, and onion to a boil in a large 16-quart boiling pot on high heat with lid on. (See Tips Below)
- While water comes to a full boil, prep the remaining ingredients.
- If your shrimp is not deveined, cut through the shell on the back of the shrimp using a small pointed knife or scissors. Cut 1/8-inch deep through the flesh along the back. Lift up the black vein with the point of the knife or scissors and pull out.
- Throw out any mussel that is opened and does not close when tapped. It is dead.
- Clean mussels: Farm raised mussels are typically clean and free of sand and grit. Rinse them under water just before cooking. Wild mussels require more cleaning. Soak for 15 to 20 minutes in cold water. Scrub shell with scrub brush.
- Debeard mussels: see below for instructions. Rinse.
- Cut the vegetables and sausages.
- Once the water comes to a boil, add potatoes. Cover and boil until they just begin to soften (half cooked), about 10-15 minutes. Reduce heat if it boils to hard.
- Add corn and sausages. Cover and boil for 10 minutes.
- Add mussels and submerge into the stock. Add hot dogs. Cover and boil about 4 minutes or until mussels open up.
- Add shrimp, submerging into the stock. Cover. Turn off heat after 2 minutes. Cover and let rest for 5 minutes or until shrimp turns pink and curls into a “C” shape.
- Remove content with a slotted spoon or spider onto a serving platter. Garnish with lemon, optional. Discard bay leaves and garlic chunks.
- Ladle 1/2 cup of stock into a mug or dipping bowl for each person.
- Place 1/4 cup of melted butter in a small dipping bowl per person.
- To eat mussels, dip into stock then melted butter.
- Serve cocktail sauce for dipping shrimp, optional.
To Debeard Mussel:
- Method A—grab onto the beard, wiggle and pull. Use a paper towel or a kitchen towel to help grasp if you have difficulty holding onto the beard.
- Method B—slide a blade of a peering knife under the beard, hold excess beard down with thumb and tug up while sliding it down toward the tip of the shell. Do this with caution to prevent cutting yourself.
- If you don’t have a large enough pot, use two smaller ones. Or boil the mussels and shrimp after everything else is cooked. Transfer the onion, potatoes, corn and sausages to a serving platter. Cover to keep warm while mussels and shrimp cooks.
- For added flavor, replace equal parts of water with 1 or 2 cans of beer.
- Substitute mussels for steamers or littleneck, if prefer.