Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

I didn’t have the most experience with mushrooms growing up, and what experience I did have—wasn’t good. Pretty much when I thought of mushrooms, I pictured those slimy little things I found in my mom’s tuna casserole (sorry mom!). But as an adult I gave mushrooms another shot and now they are truly one of my favorite foods. And as I said before with my Mushroom Bourguignon recipe, Portobello’s are a great substitute for meat. Of course, I also added real meat to this recipe, and I do think it needs it. The sausage gives it some spice and is just plain tasty. I got this recipe on Tasty Kitchen and adapted a few of the ingredients, and the amounts. I think I might try this again with a few more flavorful vegetables, or some more spices.

(By the way, this is not a pretty looking piece of food. Ignore that, taste it, you'll like it.)

4 Portobello mushroom caps
½ pound sausage
Pinch of red pepper flakes
½ cup chopped white onion
½ bell pepper (your preference), chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 sprig rosemary
½ cup chicken broth or white wine
2 slices sourdough (or white) bread, toasted
½ cup shredded sharp cheese, plus more for topping
1 egg
Salt & Pepper to taste
Cayenne pepper (optional)
Olive oil

Preheat your oven to 450. Gently clean the Portobello’s and wipe away any dirt, then use a spoon to scrape out the gills. Be careful doing this as you can break the cap if you are too rough (I say from experience). Drizzle olive oil in the bottom of a baking dish and then lightly over the mushroom caps and set them aside. In a large skillet, start browning the meat. I used Jimmy Dean’s Hot Sausage and that brought a nice spice to the mixture, but you can use any flavor you want. Sprinkle on a pinch of red pepper flakes as you brown the meat up. When it gets pretty brown, drain out the oil and add in the chopped onion, bell pepper (I used orange), celery, garlic and rosemary. Cook that for another 5 minutes or so until the vegetables are tender.

Next, pour in the broth or wine and deglaze the pan. We used broth only because I didn’t have any wine on hand (can you imagine that?) but if I make it again I might try wine. Cook this for another 5 minutes, letting some of the broth boil down. Then add the bread and cheese. The bread will serve to soak up most of the rest of the liquid. At this point, taste it and season with salt and pepper. Beat an egg in a small bowl, remove the skillet from the heat, and mix it in. Do this quickly so the egg doesn’t cook.

Now you are ready to fill the mushroom caps. Divide the mixture between the four caps, and press it into them, making sure the filling won’t fall out. I then sprinkled on some cayenne pepper on the tops before adding a little more cheese, but that’s just my MO. Pop them in the oven for 30-40 minutes. The original recipe said 35-40, but mine were perfect at 30, so you definitely want to check them. Be very careful when you pull them out because the insides are really, really hot, even when the outside seems to have cooled a little.

These were really tasty, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside with the spicy sausage, meaty Portobello and tasty cheese. The only downfall for me was that the onion, celery and pepper kind of disappeared, flavor wise. Next time I think I’ll add more onion, and perhaps try some other veggies, or maybe even cut them into larger chunks. But the point is, I’ll definitely be trying this again.  

(Click here for the printable recipe)

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