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Grilled Chard-stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

We are back safe from 16 days on the Colorado River, and integrating into regular daily living. Many of us river rats are still recovering from bruises and cuts and tweaked backs, but we are all sound and definitely relaxed. We have many Grand Canyon memories, among them a hot-as-Hades night preparing grilled chard-stuffed portobello mushrooms.

It was so hot we didn’t mind falling in the cold muddy river one bit. For cooking we were lucky to have a huge tarp shading the kitchen while we scraped the gills from a case of portobellos. Here is a variation of our river recipe, these grilled portobellos filled with potatoes, chard and spinach.

Oh the stories to be told… On one of our last mornings, someone with a camera took shots of everyone’s feet. Each person’s toes told a different tale of wear and abuse from desert sand, dry air, hot sun, sharp rocks, and thorny bushes. Insects, from biting flies to red ants to ½-inch-tiny scorpions also took their toll. All day in water, magical fresh-water springs, white travertine pools and the brown silty Colorado wears on the body too. I’m not complaining, just saying. The trip was totally awesome in all ways. Good food, plenty of beer and tequila, great friends.

Scrape the gills from the insides of the oversized mushrooms and marinate them in an easy vinaigrette. From there you can stuff them with a whole range of veggies. Try this recipe for grilled portobellos stuffed with spinach and arugula and topped with melty cheese.

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Grand Canyon Memories- Grilled Chard-stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Sea salt
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried “Italian” herbs
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 medium to large portobello mushrooms , stems removed
  • 1 medium potato , cut in ½-inch dice
  • 1 bunch chard , stems removed, cut in ½-inch pieces and reserved
  • 1 red onion , cut in ½-inch dice
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 2 pinches red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  1. Make a vinaigrette: Whisk 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar with the mustard and some salt in a bowl. Drizzle in 1/3 cup of olive oil, a little at a time, whisking. Season with the herbs, black pepper and more salt to taste.
  2. With a spoon, scrape and discard the dark gills from inside the mushrooms. Pour about a tablespoon of vinaigrette into the open bottom of each mushroom and set aside to marinate.
  3. Drop the diced potato into a pot of boiling salted water and cook until almost tender, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon. Add the chard leaves to the pot and cook until the leaves are tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain and chop coarsely.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet. Cook and stir the reserved chard stems and the red onion until the onion is translucent.
  5. Stir in the garlic and the pepper flakes and cook and stir a few more minutes. Add the cooked diced potato along with the chard leaves and about 1/3 cup of water. Cook until the water is absorbed and the vegetables are heated through. Season with salt and 2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar.
  6. Heat the grill. Grill the mushrooms on both sides until they begin to brown and are soft to touch, 5 to 8 minutes.
  7. Divide the filling into the mushroom bottoms. Sprinkle each with about a tablespoon of the cheese and grill until the cheese melts. Serve immediately.

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