Stuffed Mussels

for the mussels
40  medium mussels in shells
2  medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon super fine sugar
1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/4 cups hot water
1  lemon, peeled and sliced
for the stuffing
4 1/2 ounces white rice
2 tablespoons currants
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup sunflower oil
2 tablespoons pine nuts
6  medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup hot water
1/2 bunch fresh mint, chopped
1 bunch of dill, chopped
Scrape the mussel shells with a knife or scrub with a brush. Soak in cold water while preparing the stuffing.

To make the stuffing, soak the rice in cold water for 30 minutes, then rinse thoroughly and drain. Soak the currants in warm water for about 15 minutes until they swell. Heat the olive and sunflower oils in a pan, add the pine nuts and onions, and brown slightly. Add the soaked rice and cook for 10 minutes. Then add the drained currants, spices, salt, sugar, and hot water, and cook over low heat for 15 minutes until the water has evaporated. Stir in the mint and dill, then set aside to cool.

Gently pry open each mussel with a knife without pulling the shells apart and remove the beard of the mussels, then rinse well and drain.

Place a tablespoon of rice stuffing into each shell and close tightly.

Add the onions into a large pan and place a sheet of damp waxed paper over them. Arrange the stuffed mussels on top in layers and add the salt, sugar, olive oil, and hot water.

Arrange the lemon slices over the mussels and place another sheet of damp waxed paper on top, weighted down with a plate. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat for approximately 40 minutes. When most of the liquid has evaporated and the mussels are opened, place in a serving dish with the onions and garnish with the lemon slices.

Ease of Preparation: Challenging

Preparation Time: 1 hr
30 min soaking

Cook Time: 1 hr 15 min

Servings: 10

Recipe By: Maria Khalife

From:  Mezze Modern
Used with permission of Interlink Publishing