from Chef Julie Butler, staff assistant, food writer and blogger
A dish I am asked to prepare each Christmas is my stuffed mushrooms. It is grandpa’s favorite therefore — a keeper! I also make variations for other occasions & grill them. Good thing too because losing power on Thanksgiving has happened before, and grandpa has a BBQ, so I better have my game on! – Julie Butler1 package of ground seasoned spicy (or mild) breakfast sausage (turkey or pork or veggie) 12 large white mushroom caps, about 2+ inches across when measured across the bottom of the cap. (NOTE: If you want a bigger cap use Portobello and double stuffing if necessary.) ½ of a finely diced red onion 3 minced cloves garlic ½ of a finely diced large red bell pepper 1 large finely diced zucchini Seasoned bread crumbs ½ pound havarti cheese Salt & pepper to taste In a large skillet brown sausage and drain well. Place in bowl and set aside to cool. In the same pan add the veggies (except mushrooms) and cook gently till soft and tender, add a little olive oil if the pan is too dry. Add veggies to the sausage and mix well. Taste and season if desired.Prepare with cooking spray, a 2 quart dish or pan that will hold a single layer of 12 mushroom caps. Cut parchment paper to just fit the bottom of pan. I use an 11X9 glass pan.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
To prepare mushroom caps, remove stems and brush away any dirt with a dry cloth. Take a spoon , and gently scoop away the gills of the cap and open up a hollow. Be very careful to not cut through the cap.
Place a double thickness of paper towel on a microwave- safe plate and turn the caps hollow side down. Cook on high for about 3 minutes.
Let stand while you prepare the cheese. (This will remove some water from mushrooms so they won’t be soggy.)
Cut the havarti into ½ inch cubes. If the cheese is sliced, then stack it up before cutting. One cube of cheese per mushroom cap. (Any remaining cheese will be used later in cooking.)
Dry the caps of moisture with a paper towel before stuffing. Scoop about 1 tablespoon sausage mixture into caps. Press a cube of cheese into the center and pat the sausage mixture around it. Repeat this with each cap and place them in the prepared pan. When all the caps are done, sprinkle 1 tablespoon bread crumbs on each, and set any leftover cubes of cheese randomly over the caps. Bake at 350°F for 20-30 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and the bread crumbs are golden. Be careful to watch so they don’t get too dark.
This makes a great appetizer too. Add a little chopped cooked shrimp, some hot sauce and a little fresh dill and you have a Cajun Jambalaya mushroom!