Friday, November 19

Couscous and sausage stuffed mushrooms

My meals have been less than inspired lately. It's been difficult for me because not only does Tara have the dietary restrictions due to her Porphyria, but she's pretty picky, too; top that off with the fact that she's still recovering from jaw surgery and you could understand my frustration. Soooo, we've been eating lots of pastas and cobbled together meals of leftovers.

Mark Bittman to the rescue! The NYT recently re-shared Bittman's Top 101 Head Starts on the Day from 2009.  I found so many ideas that I ended up making my own list of favorites.  Expect to see some of them in upcoming posts.  

A few things:

First, I normally have a loooong turn around time from cooking/eating a recipe to blogging about it.  Not this dish.  I made it just a few days ago and it was so good that I had to post about it as soon as possible.  Plus, it's perfect for Thanksgiving.

Second, HUGE apologies for the bad quality of photos.  I was working with the double whammy of my iPhone and bad lighting.  Normally, I wouldn't blog a recipe if the pictures looked like these, but Tara loved this dish, so I had to share. Again, it was that good!

Third, Bittman doesn't give very detailed instructions, so I kinda had to wing it as far as writing the recipe.

Couscous and sausage stuffed mushrooms
Adapted from Mark Bittman, via The New York Times (#39)

I changed a few things in the "recipe" based on what was on hand and how much time I had.  Mainly, I used couscous instead of rice, a shallot instead of onion and garlic, and a mixture of Fontina and Gruyere cheese instead of the Parmesan.  In the spirit of the recipe, I didn't measure, so take the ingredient amounts as a guide rather than an absolute, especially with the couscous, bread crumbs and cheese.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 oz button, cremini, or portobello mushrooms
  • 2 smallish mild Italian sausages, removed from casings and crumbled
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
  • ~ 3/4 cup cooked couscous
  • 1 egg
  • ~ 1/4 cup soy free bread crumbs (I used Ian's Panko.)
  • ~ 1/4 cup of grated cheese


Preheat your oven to 350F.

Add oil to a large skillet over medium heat.  Cook the sausage until it begins to brown. While the sausage is cooking, trim mushrooms and chop stems (do this first if you're not confident in your speedy kitchen skills).

When the sausage starts to brown, add stems, chopped onion, and garlic (if using).  Stir often.  (Time saving tip: Grate your cheese while waiting for the mixture to cook.)  When the mixture is cooked, remove from heat and transfer to a bowl.  Add cooked couscous, egg, bread crumbs, and cheese. The mixture should stick together a little bit, so feel free to add cheese and bread crumbs as needed.

Spoon the stuffing into the mushroom caps (and ramekins for the extra mixture) and bake until tender, about 15 minutes.

Vegetarian option:  Increase the mushrooms to 12-16oz.  Dice half and cook with the stems.  Season with black pepper and fennel.  

Onion free and garlic free option:  Replace the shallot and garlic with 1-2 stalks of diced celery.

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