Friday, September 24

Shrimp and mushroom couscous

I've been making some serious headway into cleaning out the "pantry."  The only problem is that Tara keeps requesting new stuff to eat!  Poor girl!  She normally gets bored of foods pretty quickly and, now that she's limited to liquid and super soft foods on top of the restrictions for Porphyria, she's been trying anything possible to vary up her diet.  We have almost every variety of soup available at the local stores - but all that has done is reinforce why we're not soup people...  It's been interesting - and a little frustrating, truth be told - but we're making do.  On the plus side, she's lost a good amount of weight (~15 pounds as of last weigh in), but due to her curbed activity level, she hasn't had any AIP symptoms!  We're hoping to use this as a jump start to further weight loss when she gets better.  I'll definitely keep y'all posted as that is generally not an easy thing to do with Porphs.

In any event, this meal was a total pantry cleaner.  I used some shrimp that was in the freezer for a while, a white/whole wheat couscous mix purchased from the bulk bins at Whole Foods, and some homemade mushroom stock for the liquid.  While I love the simplicity of the flavors, it might be a little bland for some.  Feel free to play around with seasonings or fresh herbs to up the flavor profile.

Shrimp and mushroom couscous
Serves 4

I like my mushrooms on the crispy side so I sauteed them separately, but you could just as easily cook them together and only dirty one pot.  I'll give directions for both methods.  Also, Tara and I like to have quite a few shrimp per serving, so adjust accordingly for your needs.

  • 1 cup whole wheat and/or white couscous
  • 1 1/2 cups of vegetable stock or water
  • 8 oz (or more) mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled
  • 1 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, or to taste, optional
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • Optional: skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes

Heat the broiler (or toaster oven) until hot and put the rack as close to the heat source as possible.

Cooking the mushrooms and couscous separately:

Heat a large skillet over med - med/high heat.  Once the pan is hot, add 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil.  After the oil has heated, add the butter and cook until it has foamed. Add the mushrooms, stir to coat, and season with salt and pepper.  Saute the mushrooms in the butter-oil mixture until they are slightly crispy, about 10-15 minutes.

While the saute pan is heating, bring the vegetable stock to boil in a medium pot.  After the liquid has boiled, pour in the couscous, cover and turn off the heat.  Let white couscous stand for 5 minutes, whole wheat for 10.  Fluff with a fork before serving.

Cooking the mushrooms and couscous together:

Follow the directions for sauteing the mushrooms above.  Put the couscous in the pan, stirring to coat with the oil and begins to toast, 3 to 5 minutes.  Add the broth and bring to a boil, then cover and turn off the heat.  Let stand for 15 minutes.  Fluff with a fork before serving. 

After you've started both the mushrooms and couscous, coat the shrimp with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Broil the shrimp, turning once, for 2 to 3 minutes per side.  (As you can see from the pictures, I used skewers for this.  They're not required, but it makes turning a little easier.) (Also, if you look at the pictures, you'll see a sort of coating on the shrimp; I was experimenting with some ground pepitas/pumpkin seeds.  It didn't work very well, which is why I didn't include it in the recipe.  If you do want to add some crunch, include roasted pumpkin seeds just towards the end of the cooking.)

To serve, mix the mushrooms and couscous together and top with the shrimp.

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