Mushroom and brie-stuffed Yorkshire puddings

A roast dinner can be tricky for vegetarians. Rather than having 'fake meat' Becca shows how traditional Yorkshire puddings can be packed with protein rich ingredients. Stuffed with quinoa, walnuts, cheese, mushrooms and spinach, it is the perfect vegetarian dish for a Sunday feast.

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Every year on Shrove Tuesday, I tell myself I should make pancakes more often than once a year, but of course I never do. The same goes for Yorkshire puddings – somehow I never get around to making them other than at Christmas time. They always seem a little extravagant to have alongside our weekly Sunday roast – they don't contain a huge amount of nutrition, and are really just one of those yummy extras that you love to have but feel you should refrain from (like having garlic bread with pasta!). However, I figured that if I stuffed my Yorkshires with plenty of nutritious ingredients, everything would change and it would become entirely acceptable to have them for dinner.

A roast dinner can be a bit tricky for vegetarians like myself – I often feel I should have some form of fake meat instead of whatever roast meat everyone else is having, since it provides the protein that I'd be lacking if I just stuck with the roast potatoes and other veggie sides. I do like fake meat on occasion, but since there are only a few varieties out there that are any good, it can get a bit same-y sometimes.

So for these stuffed Yorkshire puddings, I wanted to include plenty of protein-rich ingredients so that there's no need to have any sort of fake meat alongside them – these Yorkshire puddings are stuffed with quinoa, walnuts and cheese, as well as mushrooms and spinach. They really are the perfect vegetarian dish for a Sunday feast (or a Monday feast, or a Tuesday feast . . . you see where I'm going with this).

As I said, I don't often make Yorkshire puddings, but they're actually really easy. You just whisk up a simple pancake-type batter, and then it's just a case of getting some oil really, really hot, adding the batter, and then not opening the oven door - otherwise you'll end up with pancakes for dinner, which is great, but not really what we're going for here. I think this is the hardest bit – I pretty much had to sit on my hands to stop myself from checking on them. It was especially hard since my oven door doesn't have a window, which meant I was mentally picturing either a completely flat pancake, or an oven entirely filled with risen Yorkshire pudding – luckily the end result was somewhere between the two.

By the way, make sure you put your dishes on a shelf with a lot of room above for the Yorkshires to rise into – mine rose at least 3 inches above the top of the dishes and they were just skimming the top of the oven! It's a good job I'd cleaned it a few days earlier!

Once you've made your Yorkshires, it's just a case of filling them with your stuffing mixture – depending on how they've risen, you might need to poke a little hole in the top to get into the centre, which should be hollow. It couldn't be easier! As you can see, I served these alongside some simply roasted tomatoes, but next time I'm feeling really indulgent I'm going to have them with roast potatoes, at least three different types of veg, and a good drizzle of gravy. Yum!




Yorkshire puddings



Preheat the oven to 230°C/gas mark 8
Pour a little oil into the bottom of four individual dishes (I used oval-shaped ceramic dishes measuring around 10x15cm) – just enough to cover the bottom of each dish. Place the dishes on a baking tray, and put them in the oven to get the oil hot
Meanwhile, make your Yorkshire pudding mixture. Measure the flour into a large bowl, and whisk in the eggs. When it's well-mixed, add the milk a little at a time, whisking well to remove lumps. Season with salt and pepper
You might need to leave the oil to heat up for a little longer — the exact time it will take depends on your oven, etc. — but when the oil is hot enough that a tiny drop of batter sizzles when you add it to the dish, you can take the dishes out of the oven
Distribute the Yorkshire pudding batter evenly between the four dishes, and put them straight back into the oven – make sure there's plenty of room above them for them to rise. Do not open the oven door for 20 minutes (make sure you set a timer or make a note of the time because you can't check on them to see when they're done, you'll have to just go by time)
While the Yorkshires are cooking, prepare your filling. Place the quinoa in a pan to boil – it should take about 15 minutes or so, until it is soft and the spiral-shaped germ has detached. Cook the red onion, garlic and mushrooms in a large frying pan over a medium heat for 5–10 minutes, until soft (I water-sautéed mine, but you can add a little oil if you need to). Add the spinach, and cook for a further 2-3 minutes until wilted
The filling can now be completed by simply combining all the ingredients - the cooked (and drained) quinoa, sautéed vegetables, ricotta, diced brie, parsley, walnuts, nutmeg, and plenty of seasoning. Add these to the pan with the vegetables and cook over a medium heat for several minutes until everything is warm and the brie is nice and melty
After about 20 minutes of cooking, you can check on your Yorkshire puddings – try to look quickly so the oven door isn't left open for too long if you end up needing to cook them for a few minutes longer. They should be golden brown and crispy on the outside, but still quite soft and fluffy inside
Depending on how your Yorkshires have risen, you might need to poke a hole in the top to get to the hollow space inside. If not, just spoon in your filling, and serve immediately

Liverpool-based Becca is the writer of the food blog Amuse Your Bouche, and specialises in simple vegetarian recipes that anyone can create, regardless of their cooking ability.

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