Festive Stuffed Mushrooms


At many tables in the following week across the world; this will play out. There’s a group coming around for dinner. It’s festive. Which means everyone should play nicely.

In my past life, I spent two and a half years hunched in cold lecture theatres and over a laptop so I could get a piece of paper with an MA on it before some words about ‘Strategic Communication Management’. Gosh, that’s now proving really useful, isn’t it.

But if I’m honest, it kind of is.  I’ll still find myself busting out a communication matrix if the occasion calls for it. I’m talking about a  big fat spreadsheet, with stakeholders tracing down one side (Stakeholder def; (Freeman, 1984) ‘any individual or group who can affect, or can be affected by the actions, decisions, policies, practices or goals of the organisation’). Looming on an angle to the right are potential pitfalls. An populating the centre are strategies to mitigate conflict.

There was a very very large one for our wedding (granted, there were a few things that emerged from left of field in the seven weeks before hand that most people wouldn’t have seen coming). But it did mean that most pitfalls were projected for and headed off before they became the kind of frackas that can really muck with a good time.

Which brings us to the holidays. Food is a lovely way of bringing people together; of making people feel included, wanted and respected. Unless you’re serving a traditional turkey, bread and sausage stuffing with potatoes,  carrots and sprouts – and you later find you’ve got at your table a vegetarian, gluten intolerant and a couple of people who are really trying to lay off the white stodge.

With that in mind, here’s a solution for one of your boxes. It’s a sort of stuffing, but instead of a bird, it goes inside the bellies of mushrooms. Instead of bread, there’s quinoa. For hearty stickability, there are two types of cheese. And for flavour there’s all sorts of woodsy champions; rosemary, garlic, a garland of wilted spinach- and for a little sweet piquancy, dried blueberries.

They can be prepped ahead of time, ready to be baked and served.  They’d be lovely as canapes. They’re terrific as a side dish to roast fowl, but would also be grand as a stuffed portobello mushroom as a main dish for a vegetarian guest.

Add a splodge of creme friache just before serving and they’re downright civil and welcoming. Which is exactly what you hope the holidays will be.

And if all else goes astray, know they go very well with a glass of fizz.

Nb and if you want a little step by step, here’s a video that http://www.vourchercode.uk made of me making them, a couple of weeks back. There’s something a little strange going on with my hair. But give it a chance. It was filmed very, very early on a Monday.


Festive Stuffed Mushrooms

Serves 4 as a side

This can also be made with larger portobello mushrooms as a main course for vegetarians.  If you can’t find dried blueberries, substitute for dried cranberries or currants. Similarly, if pumpkin seeds (pepitas) prove a stretch, just use flaked almonds, or add some pine nuts. These can be prepared ahead of time and left in the fridge on a baking tray covered in plastic wrap. Just remove the wrap and bake when wanted.


250 grams open cup mushrooms
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
2 tsp rosemary, finely diced
½ cup of cooked quinoa (or ¼ of a cup of quinoa, cooked in a stock of 5 grams of diced porcini mushrooms and ½ cup of warm water)
80 grams of baby spinach, roughly chopped
30 grams of parmesan, grated
3 tbsp Boursin cheese (or soft goat cheese)
3 tbsp of dried blueberries
2 tbsp flaked almonds
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds/pepitas

To serve crème fraiche and black pepper.

Here’s how we roll

1) Preheat the oven to 200C/395 F.

2)  Pull the stalks out of all the mushrooms and set to one side (it is easy to do this by just giving them a little wiggle left to right and then gently pulling).

3) Place the mushrooms in a baking tray.

4) Place the olive oil in a fry pan over a medium heat. Add the garlic and rosemary and sautee gently. Dice the mushroom stems and add them to the garlic and rosemary and sautee until soft.

5) Add the cooked quinoa to the mushrooms, garlic and rosemary.

7) Add the chopped baby spinach and stir so it wilts.

8) Fold in the grated parmesan, the Boursin cheese and the dried blueberries. Stir until it melts through the quinoa and spinach.

9) Transfer the mixture into the open cups of the mushrooms.

10) Scatter the tops with the flaked almonds and pumpkin seeds.

11) Bake for 25 minutes until the mushrooms are cooked and the almonds are toasted.  Serve with a splodge of crème friache and some cracked black pepper.


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  1. Hooray! What a great video!

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