Easy, one-pot, lemony Greek rice with mussels (midopilafo)
Spring is finally here people! Yes!!! After a long and particularly cold winter -for Greek standards – we finally got some sunshine and warm weather.
And what better way to enjoy the sun and the warmth than doing some gardening, planting our seeds for the summer veggies, preparing our veranda for sitting outside and the best part… making our photo and video sessions outside with natural light again!
Yep! Another one –pot recipe
By now you must have realized that we love one pot recipes. Why? Well, because they are usually easy to make (throw everything into a pot and stir) and they don’t need a ton of cooking time. Who doesn’t like that, especially during busy weekdays.
In this post we share with you another Greek one-pot recipe that is a staple in Greek cuisine especially during the time of Lent before Easter (which is this period). This rice with mussels is a very healthy, easy, light, pescatarian dish that is so hearty and comforting you won’t be missing having meat at all. Trust us!
The rice in this recipe is cooked similarly to the way that pilaf is made (sauteing the rice first) and then the rest of the ingredients are added one by one.
In this recipe the star is the mussels. We used cleaned frozen mussels without the shell since they are easier to cook and let’s be honest quite practical; plus, it’s also easier to eat them this way. The shelled mussels are also easier to find in the grocery store or the super market and they are much more affordable.
And since we are talking about mussels… Did you know that mussels besides being an extremely rich source of protein, are also an amazing source of iron, vitamin C, the vitamin B complex (especially B9) and phosphorus? Yeap! Who would have known that this little tiny thing can be so nutritious, right?
This recipe is just one of the ways we enjoy them at home. We also like to pan fry them, broil them with butter and garlic or use them in a delicious pasta sauce.
This recipe for Greek rice with mussels is –as we mentioned- cooked pretty regularly throughout the country, especially during the days of Lent. Besides being delicious it’s also a very hearty dish because of the rice.
Adding spring onions, garlic, dill, sweet chili flakes, along with the white wine and the yellow mustard, makes this humble dish soo delicious! And adding a splash of lemon juice at the end of the cooking procedure elevates this dish it to whole new level.
But if you are not fans of the lemon then you can make this dish without it; try it with grated tomato, which can be added during cooking for a different, equally delicious version of the dish.
On the other hand, adding the lemon juice brings a freshness that we personally like a lot; we totally recommend it. The mussels must be added towards the end of the cooking time in order to avoid them being chewy.
You can serve this dish warm or in room temperature. We even had some leftovers that we reheated the next day and the flavors were totally there. We simply added a splash of water to the pot to help the reheating process (we ‘re not big fans of microwaves).
Serve this with some extra chili flakes and a few drops of lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil on top. And don’t forget, as always, have some fresh crusty bread nearby.
Now let’s see how to cook this easy, one pot dish.
- 500g (17.5oz / 1lb), frozen mussels without shells, rinsed
- 250g (9oz/ 1 ¼ cups), long grain (parboiled) rice, rinsed
- 125ml (1/2 cup), olive oil
- 1 (about 200g/7oz) onion, chopped
- 3-4 (about 100-120g / 4oz) spring onions, finely chopped
- 40g (2 cups / ½ bunch) dill, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
- 125ml (1/2 cup), white wine
- 1 tbsp yellow mustard
- 1 vegetable bouillon (optional but highly recommended)
- 1 tsp chili flakes (optional)
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 3 tbsp (from 1 medium-sized lemon), lemon juice
- 1250ml (5 cups), warm water
Add the olive oil in a medium sized pot and place it on medium-high heat. Add the onion (pic.1) and the spring onions (pic.2). Cook until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes.
Lower the heat to medium-low and add the garlic (pic.3). Sautee for a few seconds and then add the chili flakes, the salt and the pepper (pic.4). Mix well and cook for a few seconds.
Add the rice (pic.5) and mix well with the spices. Cook for a few seconds more and then add the mustard (pic.6). Mix well.
Add the wine (pic.7) and cook for a few minutes to allow the alcohol to evaporate and then add the water (pic.8).
Add the vegetable bouillon (pic.9) and cook the rice on medium heat for 15 minutes (pic.10). Don’t cover the pot.
Then add the mussels (pic. 11) and the dill (pic. 12). Toss everything gently and let it cook for another 5-10 minutes or until most of the water is absorbed by the rice.
At this point stir often to avoid any sticking to the bottom of the pot. The food is ready when it has the consistency that you prefer. It should be quite thick though like a thick stew but still a bit juicy.
When ready, turn off the heat and add the lemon juice (pic.13). Mix gently and serve.
1. You can replace the lemon juice with grated tomatoes and/or tomato paste. In this case, add the tomatoes along with the water and use only 1 lt (4 cups) of water.
2. You can also use a frozen mix of seafood to make it more interesting.
3. You can use more mustard (double the quantity of this recipe) for a different, delicious result.
4. You can use fennel fronds instead of dill, for another yummy result.
5. You can also make this recipe using short-grain rice, like Arborio or Carnaroli, if you like a softer, risotto-like result.