From Nicola Graimes’s Veggienomics.
Couscous is a brilliant budget ingredient to keep handy in the cupboard. Quick to prepare, it makes a great base for stuffings as it takes on the flavours of stronger ingredients and adds substance. Here, it is mixed with harissa, which also doubles up as the flavouring of the mayonnaise. Use large mushrooms with a slightly raised edge, which act like a bowl to hold the stuffing.
Roasted Mushrooms with Couscous Crust
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
75g/2½oz/heaped ⅓ cup couscous
hot vegetable stock, to cover
3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 onion, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp harissa paste
1 tsp smoked mild paprika
1 large handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
1 large handful of oregano leaves, chopped
4 large portobello or field mushrooms, stalks discarded
125g/4½oz rindless goats’ cheese, crumbled
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
mixed salad leaves, to serve
For the Harissa Mayo
1 heaped tsp harissa
6 tbsp mayonnaise
juice of ½ lemon
1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5. Put the couscous in a heatproof bowl and pour over enough hot stock to just cover. Stir, cover with a plate to keep in the heat and leave for 5 minutes, or until the stock is absorbed. Fluff up the couscous with a fork to separate the grains.
2. Meanwhile, heat half the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and fry for 8 minutes until softened but not coloured. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the harissa, paprika, cooked couscous and half the herbs, season with salt and pepper and stir until combined.
3. Brush the top (not the gills) and edges of each mushroom with the remaining oil and put them in a small roasting tin to keep them upright. Spoon the couscous mixture in a pile on top, pressing it down slightly, then pour in 1 tablespoon water, cover with foil and roast for 15 minutes until the mushrooms have softened. Remove the foil, scatter the goats’ cheese over the top of each one, drizzle with a little oil and return to the oven for another 10 minutes until the cheese has melted slightly.
4. Meanwhile, mix together all the ingredients for the harissa mayo with 1–2 tablespoons warm water and salt and pepper. Serve the mushrooms, sprinkled with the remaining herbs, with the harissa mayo and salad.
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