I have a confession to make. I don't like mushrooms. I've never liked them, and I probably never will. The combination of earthy flavor mixed with the weird spongy texture just doesn't do it for me. So you'll be surprised that I'm posting a mushroom recipe. Why is that? Well, it's Monday Mouthful and ChefE over at Cook Appeal chose mushrooms as our ingredient this week, and I never told her that I didn't like mushrooms--I was just too embarrassed to tell her (or anyone in the culinary world) that I detest those funghi. Before today, I've never even cooked a mushroom since my husband shares this dislike with me. I agonized all week about what I was going to do about this, and had even considered making cupcakes shaped like mushrooms, but that just isn't in the spirit of Monday Mouthful at all, so I didn't do it.
Then my husband invited a student and her visiting brother over for dinner, and I thought, "Aha! I can make them eat the mushrooms! Mwahahaha..." Luckily, I had already planned on making chicken en papillote with some couscous on the side, so I decided to make two couscouses: a plain one for my husband and me and one with sauteed mushrooms for the unwitting visitors. And I justified this use in couscous by telling myself that couscous is actually a very common French food because of the strong Algerian influence in the country. I think with this version, it would be very easy to add any dried (or fresh) herbs of your choice--thyme or herbes de provence would probably be tasty--but I wanted a clean taste to go with the chicken, so only added parsley.
It turns out that only the brother and my daughter ate any of the couscous, but both had second helpings, so I assume it tasted good. I sent the leftovers home with the brother, and he seemed happy to take them. Phew! I was able to make mushrooms, not have to eat them, send the leftovers away, and be able to post this with only hours to spare. I am superwoman.
Couscous aux Champignons
1 Tbl butter
1 cup chopped various mushrooms (I used oyster, crimini and something that was called "Champignon de Paris.")
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups couscous
1 3/4 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper
handful of freshly chopped parsley
Melt the butter in a saucepan that has a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for a few seconds until it starts to soften, but don't let it brown. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally for about 5-10 minutes until the mushrooms have softened. Add the stock and a small handful of chopped parsley and let it simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the couscous, salt and pepper to taste, and cover the pot and remove it from the heat. Let it sit for 5 minutes, add another small handful of parsley, and fluff with a fork.