From The Flavour Principle, by Lucy Waverman and Beppi Crosariol

​Think of chestnut-stuffed turkey and transfer that thought to mushrooms, which are meaty in their own way. The chestnuts add a rich earthiness to this dish and make the mushrooms that much more meat-like. Look for the largest, juiciest-looking portobellos for this dish. If your mushrooms are smaller, you may have extra stuffing; stir in half a beaten egg and bake in a gratin dish alongside your mushrooms.

FOOD Flavour Principle 20131028

HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd./Canadian Press

12 large portobello mushrooms

125 mL (1/2 cup) olive oil

Chestnut stuffing:

60 mL (1/4 cup) butter

250 mL (1 cup) chopped onions

250 mL (1 cup) chopped celery

5 mL (1 teaspoon) cracked fennel seeds

15 mL (1 tablespoon) chopped garlic

400 g (14 ounces) vacuum-packed peeled chestnuts, chopped

1 L (4 cups) fresh bread crumbs

125 mL (1/2 cup) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

80 mL (1/3 cup) unsweetened apple juice

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 220 C (425 F).

Cut off mushroom stems flush with caps and chop. You should have about 350 mL (1 1/2 cups).

Heat 30 mL of olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Working in batches, add mushroom caps to pan and fry for one to two minutes per side or until just beginning to soften. Transfer fill side up to a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining mushroom caps, adding more oil to pan as needed. Reserve.

Melt butter in the same skillet over medium heat. Add onions, celery and fennel seeds and sauté for 10 minutes or until slightly caramelized. Add garlic, chestnuts and chopped mushroom stems and sauté for two minutes or until mushrooms are juice. Remove from heat.

Stir bread crumbs and parsley into stuffing mixture. Add enough apple juice to moisten stuffing well. Season well with salt and pepper. Divide stuffing into six portions and place on top of each of the mushroom caps on the baking sheet. Top with remaining six mushroom caps, gill side down, to make a kind of sandwich. Do not totally enclose the stuffing. Roast for 15 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and stuffing is crisp around the edges. Serve drizzled with rich red wine sauce (below).

Rich red wine sauce

Pomegranate juice gives a wonderful colour to this sauce as well as a subtle flavour. This is similar to a beurre blanc sauce but made with red wine.

125 mL (1/2 cup) red wine

125 mL (1/2 cup) pomegranate juice

10 mL (2 teaspoons) light soy sauce

2.5 mL (1/2 teaspoon) granulated sugar

60 mL (1/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut in pieces

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine red wine, pomegranate juice, soy sauce and sugar in a heavy pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce and simmer for 10 to 20 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in butter a piece at a time until fully incorporated and sauce is emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.