Sunday, November 22, 2009

Stuffed Shroomies

Stuffed mushrooms, how I love thee. The prefect appetizer for any occasion. You take a little bit of effort, but your componants can be prepared in advance to be popped into the oven as my guests arrive, greeting them with tantalizing shroomy smells and piping hot deliciousness (don't burn your mouth!)

With the holidays coming up, I thought I would write down this old favorite of mine in case any of you were pondering new ideas for the stuffing of mushrooms.

Don't get me wrong, I love cheesey, creamy, indulgent stuffed mushrooms - but i think this recipe is a nice alternative: still completely decadent, but without the mass amounts of cheese and olive oil some recipes call for. I have made these many times, and each time fiddle with the ingredients and the amounts, more of this, less of that, new herbs or veggies - so don't be limited by this recipe, but rather think of it as a good sounding off board and make it your own (or do it as is, it'll be great).

Stuffed Button Mushrooooooms
(note, the amounts of shroom and breadcrumbs here come from an old recipe i originally used as reference - i haven't made these in a while, sadly, so you may find you need more breadcrumbs - simply add some more as needed, but it should be about half wet/hot ingredients to half dry)

  • 24 medium to large sized buttom shrooms (about one big package)
  • 3 slices turkey (or real) bacon, optional
  • 1 onion, diced very fine
  • 1 jalapeno, diced very fine, seeds removed, optional
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup soft bread crumbs (you can use the dried ones, but crush them up to more like dust)
  • 3 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • few pinches other fresh herbs, rosemary, oregano, thyme etc
  • reduced fat feta crumbles, or shredded Parmesan (or both) you can also substitute ricotta for the feta
  • splash white wine
  • little oil
  • salt and pepper
Filling can be made ahead and stored in a ziplock bag, extra can be frozen for next time.

Clean mushrooms with a brush or cloth, not under water, and remove the stems. Save about half or 3/4 of the stems and chop finely.

Finely chop the veggies and herbs and bacon if using. Saute the veggies and bacon in a little olive oil with the mushroom stems until the onions are clear (cover pan while sauteing to keep the moisture in and speed cooking while alleviating the need for more oil). Once veggies are cooked to your liking, add the finely chopped fresh herbs and splash of white wine.

In a separate bowl while veggies are cooking, mix the breadcrumbs with salt and pepper and cheeses. I would say there should be either equal amounts cheese to breadcrumbs or slightly less cheese - more or less depending on how decadent you want it.

Mix the wet/hot ingredients into the dry, mixing thoroughly. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or herbs and light dash of olive oil as needed. The texture should be moist and spoonable, but not "wet" or too crumbly dry. The cheese should act as a binder and the onion mixture as a flavor-soaker-inner (nice technical verbage, ay?)

If you are stuffing now, simply use a regular spoon and scoop up spoonfuls of the filling, turn spoon upside down and press into the mushroom cavity to be flush or slightly heaping above the rim of the mushroom. Lay out the mushrooms on a cookie sheet side by side as you stuff them. When all are stuffed and nestled together (not quite touching) sprinkle a little salt all 'round as well as a little more parm. These can wait on the counter for you, or be cooked right away. If set aside, cooking time might be slightly longer since the fillings will have cooled.

When your guests are about to arrive preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Stick these babies in as you see your guests approaching up the walk  (or about 20 minutes before you're ready to snack) and bake until the mushrooms are getting soft, the tops are slightly browning and bubbling, and there's a general feeling of sizzle and aromatic goodness in your oven.  I have written here about 15 minutes, but i'm pretty darn sure the last few times it has taken 5 or 10 minutes longer - you can also blast the broiler at the very end if you want more browning to occur. The key is that the mushrooms get soft all the way through, but NOT mushy - need to be picked up easily with two fingers. All ovens are different - so just keep an eye on them please.

CAREfully remove the shrooms with a spatula and your hands, or with some tongs and spread on a nice serving platter. Serve with some robust red wine and cocktail napkins at hand - but do let the shrooms cool just a touch before serving - don't want any ER visits for your guests' mouths!

I apologize for no pictures, but hopefully this recipe will be a good guide for you. I like my shroomies spicy, so don't add the jalapeno if you want a milder version. You could also put in finely diced celery, bell peppers, or maybe blue cheese or really anything you'd like!
Have Fun!
Mushrooms on Foodista

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