Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Portobellos Stuffed with Bean & Potato Puree

As I jostled my way through the ever-crowded produce aisle at Trader Joe's, my eyes alighted on the last package of Stuffing Portobello's. I made my move - gave them a quick squeeze to check for firmness - and started to dream of summer.

In the past, I've always stuffed these baby ports (and other small mushrooms) with breadcrumbs and pesto. That's a fabulous and indulgent combination that works very well for parties and BBQs. Yummy though they are, pesto portobellos are high in fat and offer no protein to justify. This time, I wanted the ports to be the main attraction of the meal and so started musing about high protein fillings. A white bean puree with mushrooms seemed like a winning combination of tastes. I chose a recipe from the indulgent The Vegetarian Bistro by Marlena Spieler. While the recipes in this book tend to be high in fat using cream and cheese extravagantly , her recipe for Brandade aux Legumes called for 2-3 tbsp olive oil.

The bean puree worked wonderfully with the mushrooms and I have plenty left over to serve with crudite or to wow hubby with a new sandwich spread. (The "wow" would come from the extreme garlicyness of this puree, which mellowed considerably with the cooking in this recipe.) I used a drop of balsamic vinegar with the mushrooms to add richness and a topping of pesto breadcrumbs, feta, and pine nuts to make it special.

The other cool thing about this recipe is you can easily make the puree ahead of time and then have an elegant dinner ready in 20 minutes.

Bean & Potato Puree (adapted from The Vegetarian Bistro by Marlena Spieler):
1 potato, peeled and cubed
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp butter
1 cup of canned white beans, rinsed (if desired, save bean liquid to thin puree)
1-2 tbsp half & half, milk, olive oil or bean liquid to thin puree (I used half & half)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
lemon juice
pinch rosemary
chopped parsley
salt and pepper
cayenne pepper

Cook the potato with the bay leaf until tender and mash with butter or olive oil. Add the beans to the potato mixture and mash, thinning with desired liquid. Cook the onion and 2 cloves of garlic in olive oil until tender. Combine with the potato bean mix and puree with lemon juice, rosemary, and parsley and the final garlic clove. Thin as needed. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and cayenne.

1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
basil olive oil
lemon juice
crumbled feta
pine nuts

Combine breadcrumbs with lemon juice and tiniest amt of basil olive oil. Mix with feta and pine nuts.

Stuffed Portobellos:
Pre-heat the oven to 400. Remove the stems from the mushrooms and wipe clean or peel, as desired. Brush the mushrooms lightly with oil and set out on a baking tray. Put a drop of Balsamic Vinegar inside each mushroom. Fill with a tbsp. of bean puree and sprinkle with topping. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

I served these with a salad of spinach, tomatoes, and white mushrooms and soft dinner rolls.

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Blogger SusanV said...

Ab so lute ly beautiful! Beautiful photos and inspired ingredients. Almost makes me wish I did dairy. :-)

2:34 PM  
Anonymous Stevi said...

thanks for adding me to your blogroll
i am honoured.
and your recipes are so yummy!

4:01 PM  
Anonymous Ivonne said...


You had me at the word stuffed!

This looks fantastic. I love stuffed mushrooms and have a recipe that I always turn to. But I've never stuffed portobellos so I will definitely give this one a try!

6:37 PM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Hi Susan -thanks for the kind words. This is very easily vegan with the exception of the feta (I'm guessing).

Stevi - thanks for visiting - I love your recipes, I think we have similar taste.

Ivonne - portobellos are really wonderful stuffing mushrooms (these ones were small about 2 - 2.5" across).

7:47 AM  

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