For this week’s Chopped Dinner Challenge, the chefs of Food Network Kitchen chose to feature the basket ingredient mussels. One of the best ways to enjoy these iridescent shellfish is in a soup or stew, so the chefs came up with this recipe for a simplified cioppino. Traditionally the classic Italian-American seafood stew is made with a variety of fish and shellfish — and for a fisherman that would typically be whatever was the catch of the day. This version uses just mussels, which are relatively inexpensive and very flavorful all on their own. If you can imagine yourself taking a big hunk of bread and dipping it right into the sweet, spicy, tomato-based stew, then this Mussel Cioppino is meant for you.
Mussels take very little time to cook, so you’ll want to start with the stew base. Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the garlic and onion, and cook until golden. Stir in the wine, pepper flakes and thyme; then bring to a boil and reduce by half. Stir in the pureed tomatoes and broth, and bring to a gentle simmer. Add the mussels and cover the pot. Cook until the mussels have opened, about 6 minutes. Discard any shells that haven’t opened. Check the seasoning, then serve with a garnish of parsley and fresh crusty bread.
Get the Recipe: Mussel Cioppino
The Chopped Dinner Challenge is a series of recipes showing you how easy it is to cook like a winning Chopped competitor. Every week, FN Dish will showcase a recipe created by Food Network Kitchen that uses at least one of the Chopped basket ingredients, plus basic grocery goods and simple staples. Consider it your very own Chopped challenge. Just take this frequent tip from the judges: Don’t forget to season!