Mussels From Brussels

Chocolate, waffles, fries, and beer are considered the hallmarks of Belgian cuisine, and the latter two pair deliciously in the seaside nation’s signature dish: moules frites (mussels and fries). Served everywhere from the finest dining establishments, right down to street carts, they are delicious when cooked with local biere (beer). You’d be hard-pressed not to enjoy this seafood specialty at least once on our Holland & Belgium in Springtime trip. Top-rated Program Director Katy Huyskens shared her recipe for moules frites.

Moules (Mussels) steamed in beer

Though taken from the French word for mussels, Belgian moules frequently replace the traditional white wine for steaming with one of their signature brews. This recipe features the Flemish beer Duvel, a strong golden pale ale—delicious to cook with, and to imbibe afterward.


3 Tbs. olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1 medium onion, sliced
1 c. tomato, cored and diced
1 bottle Duvel beer
4 lbs. mussels, washed and de-bearded


  1. Clean mussels twice in cold water to remove traces of sand, discarding any that are open and do not squeeze shut when tapped or pressed.
  2. In a pot large enough to hold all of the mussels, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook until onion begins to soften (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add tomato, and cook 5 minutes more.
  4. Add mussels and beer; increase heat to high. Cover the pot and steam until mussels open, about 10 minutes.
  5. To serve, transfer mussels to a large bowl and spoon over cooking liquid. Serve with a loaf of crusty bread to sop up the liquid.

Servings: 6-8