Thursday, January 16, 2014

Baby Bella's Bursting with Bulgur and Perfectly Plated

This earthy and rustic vegan mushroom dish features baby portobello mushrooms coated with olive oil, garlic, and Mediterranean spices, roasted for 25 minutes, and then stuffed with a lively mixture of bulgur, green olives, mint, parsley, onion and roasted almonds.  The rich ingredients, and the contrasting textures and flavors, make for an amazing and satisfying bite of food.

I start by cleaning and removing the stems from about 10 baby portobello mushrooms.  Then, with a sharp knife, I score the top of each mushroom with crisscross scores, taking care not to cut in so deep that the mushrooms break.

Next, I preheat my oven to 400 degrees and assemble the ingredients needed for a quick and simple chermoula sauce.  They include 1 large clove of crushed garlic, 1/2 teaspoon each of ground cumin, ground coriander, ground red pepper, and paprika, 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt, 1/4 cup of very good olive oil, and a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice.  I combine and whisk the ingredients together in a small bowl to form a smooth marinade.

Then I carefully spoon and brush the chermoula sauce all over the top and bottom of each of the mushrooms, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (top side up), and roast the portobellos for about 25 minutes.

While the mushrooms are roasting I prepare the bulgur filling.  First I measure out 1/2 cup of fine bulgur (bulgur No. 1) into a bowl, cover the bulgur with 1/2 cup of boiling water, add in a tablespoon of olive oil, stir once, cover the bowl tightly, and let it rest until all the water is absorbed -- about 15 minutes.

In the meantime I prepare the ingredients to fold into the bulgur.  They include 1 thinly sliced green onion (including the green stems), 1/4 cup each of sliced tangy green olives, finely chopped mint, and finely chopped flat leaf parsley, and about 15 roasted almonds, coarsely chopped.   After the bulgur has absorbed all the liquid, I fluff it with a fork and add in some salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.  Then I stir in the olives, herbs and almonds, add a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice, and sprinkle in a hint red pepper for a little heat (optional).  Then I taste the bulgur and adjust the seasonings as needed.

When the mushrooms are done cooking,  I let them rest for a bit and then I stuff them with as much of the bulgur mixture as they can hold (saving any leftover bulgur for another day's lunch). The mushrooms are now ready to plate and serve.

And in this gorgeous plate that my friend Francesco designed, I found the perfect canvas for my beautiful stuffed mushrooms! 

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