Bistro inspired Portobello Courgette farcie Potato mash

Parisian Bistro inspired with my Italian cucina at the helm.
Portobello goes tête à tête with la courgette and a rustic smooth potato mash. 

Paris and connections have been in my thoughts lately. 

A somewhat long distance reunion has happened with a cousin from Italy.  
The last time I had remembered her was when we were both in our much younger years.
Since then, we sadly lost complete touch with each other.

Along with our appreciation of great culinary experiences....
romantic cities such as Paris have come into our lively conversations.

I assumed that we may also share a love of books as well as charming cities.
Therefore, I took a chance and sent her an illustrated book on the alluring magnet of Paris.
Crossing our continents...
we may one day meet up in a Parisian bistro and connect in person?!?
Dreaming of adventures and possibilities is also something we have much in common. 

Once upon a time...
how she initially made contact with me:  

Out of nowhere, my younger 'Cugina' decided to mail me a friendly card with two enchanting window butterflies.

I could only wonder why and how she could have known about my connection with this fantastical insect?  I was very moved by her gesture.

We've become email pals since then and along the way we are slowly finding our true deeper bond.

I've come to appreciate her very particular and unique personality whom I'm slowly coming to admire.

Not only have I come to cherish our correspondence, I've also started to let back in some whimsical that had got lost along the way.

Since she mentioned that her interests surround savoury dishes as opposed to desserts...
I thought of dedicating this friendly tête à tête to my 'Cugina'.

This dish is hopefully as generous and colorful as she has expressed herself to be.

Portobello and Courgette 
stuffed with rustic Sweet Potato mash
A bounty of flavours and textures in every bite.
serves 2-4 
(depending if used as an entrée or a meal)

(American / Metric measures)

Part-1 - Potato mash:
4 medium 'new' potatoes, cubed
1 small sweet potato, cubed
1 small sweet onion, finely chopped
1 cube of vegetable stock
1 tsp. (5ml) sea salt
1/4 cup (60ml) reserved potato water
3 tbsp. (45ml) butter
3 tbsp. (45ml) e.v.Olive oil
1/2 cup (120ml) Ajvar* (optional)
1 tsp. (5ml) 'Fleur d'ail' (or 1 finely minced small garlic clove)
1/2 tsp. (2.5ml) sea salt,
1/4 tsp. (1.25ml) each dried herbs: basil marjoram, rosemary, tarragon
* Ajvar:  A Turkish product.  It's simply a blend of finely puréed roasted peppers, eggplants, vinegar, sunflower oil, garlic, a touch of sugar and a tinch of chile pepper.  The bonus, no additives or preservatives!  Found in many regular stores with Ethnic departments.  Middle Eastern stores have it for sure.
3 Portobello mushrooms (1 reserved to be sliced)
2 medium zucchini 'courgettes'halved lengthwise, cored and divided to make 8 pieces
1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. (30ml) butter
2 tbsp. (30ml) e.v.Olive oil
1/8 cup (30ml) white wine
Garnish: (both optional)
. a handful of roasted crushed almonds 
. a few big leaves of Radicchio or other sturdy lettuce


Part -1-Potato mash: (this part could have been made ahead if desired)
1. While getting ready to clean and cube vegetables, in a large pot, start boiling 6 cups (1.5L) of water and add the salt as well as the stock cube.  
2. Prepare the potatoes by leaving most of the thin skin as well as cutting into medium sized cubes.  The sweet potato shall be cubed into bigger pieces.   Add all the potatoes and cubed onion at once into the boiling water.  Once the boil has surfaced again, lower the heat to simmer for about 20 minutes with the lid on.  Test if potatoes are tender. Leave them in their water if the next part of the recipe is not ready yet.
Part -2-Caramelized onion and mushroom sauté:
3. While potatoes are cooking, in another large skillet, begin to sauté the sliced onions in the heated butter and oil until well caramelized on medium-low heat. 
4. Now, add one of the Portobello mushrooms which was sliced ahead of time and cook down for about 5 minutes before adding the wine.  Once the alcohol has evaporated, place the remaining two mushrooms (ribs down) as well as the eight pieces of courgettes.  Cook and flip them over twice before having them set and ready to receive the mashed potato stuffing.  Note: while the mushroom and courgettes are cooking, the potato mix should be ready to mash.  

Part-1-Potato mash...continued
5. With a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes into a large bowl.   Add the reserved cooking water, the butter, oil and seasoning.  Mash by hand to keep it rustic.  Add the (optional) 'Ajvar' at the very end and combine.

6. Spoon the warm mashed potatoes onto the mushroom and courgette cavities.  Sprinkle some optional roasted crushed almonds onto the Portobello.  Cover the skillet and leave the assembly to flavour together for 15 minutes on very low heat until ready to serve onto lettuce leaves.   Spoon a little caramelized onion and sliced mushrooms on top of the potato mash topping the courgettes.   Grab yourselves a glass of Rosé wine and enjoy.

Here's to fabulous Bistro inspired preparations...
strolls down memory lane and great culinary experiences.

Here's also hoping that you invite a connection that happily surprises you as well.

Have a special week everyone.
Flavourful wishes and bon appétit.

Comments ... ??? ... or suggestions ... write me :o)
Claudia at: foodessa [at] gmail [dot] com

Go HERE for more SAVOURY creations.

Please take note on how I bake and cook...
Here’s a 101 of sorts to make sure that there are no disappointments when trying my creations.  
Also...just so you know...feel free to increase the salt and sweet factor since I'm not high on either of them ;o)

. Use DRY cup measurements for...you guessed it...all DRY ingredients.
Anything DRY gets measured by spooning the overfilled ingredient (never shake the cup) and then level off with a flat edged tool.  Exception...Brown sugar should be packed in and leveled.
. Use LIQUID cup measurements for...all LIQUIDS that cannot be leveled like for example butter, yogurt...etc.  Measure the liquids at eye level to avoid overdoing what the recipe truly needs.
OVENS are unfortunately not created equal.  Mine is so old that it has reached many degrees off it's norm.  It's really worth investing a few dollars to test yours with an appropriate oven thermometer.  You'd be surprised how many ovens I've heard about not being where they should have been.  Before you lose any more ingredients and much time preparing a new recipe...run to the store...you'll thank me later. 

Here are other related dishes that may be of interest:
- clever Stuffed CABBAGE roll CUPS...How to make roll cups
- Israeli COUSCOUS stuffed 'cremini' MUSHROOMS
- MILLET stuffed Bell PEPPER cups
- roasted vegetable stuffed Bell Peppers