Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed mushrooms don’t get made as often as they should. They are easy! They finish in the oven and keep well before that step, which makes them perfect for entertaining. They are finger food, and fun. They aren’t too messy. They are equally welcome on an appetizer table as they are as fancy side dish. They are an unfussy sort of recipe – you can play with it and whatever you put in will work. I’ve never made stuffed mushrooms that didn’t get eaten up right away.

Think of this recipe more as a guideline than a strict set of rules. If you don’t care for sausage, leave it out. If you don’t have shallot, use some onion. Add some garlic if you want a bit more kick. Don’t have Madeira? Use Sherry or white wine, or even deglaze the pan with stock. You prefer basil to thyme? Add some parsley? By all means, use what you like! Even the cream cheese is really optional.

So, the next time you run across a nice selection of mushrooms, try stuffing them! I think you’ll like what you come up with.

Stuffed Mushrooms

serves 2 (or more, if you each eat less)

  • 10 large white button mushrooms
  • 1 Italian sausage (sweet or hot), casing removed
  • 1 large shallot (or a couple baby ones)
  • 2 tsp. butter
  • dash of sea salt
  • 2 tbsp. Madeira
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan or pecorino cheese
  • 1 tbsp. cream cheese
  • 1 tsp. olive oil as binder
  • 2 tbsp. chicken stock or water
  • olive oil for drizzling

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

Wipe clean the mushrooms, and remove the stems. Use a 1/4 tsp. measure (or little melon baller) to hollow out the mushroom caps as needed. Finely chop the shallot and mushroom stems.

In an oven safe skillet large enough to hold all the mushroom caps (I use my cast-iron skillet) gently cook the sausage over med. to med.-high heat. When sausage begins to brown, add the butter, shallot, mushroom stems and salt. Continue cooking until the meat is browned and the mushroom juices have evaporated. Add the Madeira and thyme and deglaze the pan. Cook until the liquid is all absorbed/evaporated.

In a medium bowl, combine the contents of the skillet with the bread crumbs, grated cheese, cream cheese, and just enough olive oil to hold everything together.

Add a little bit of chicken stock or water to the skillet. Fill the mushroom caps with the stuffing, getting as much into each one as you can. Feel free to mound up the stuffing! Arrange the mushrooms in the skillet, drizzle with olive oil, and bake for about half an hour. The mushroom flesh should be soft, and the stuffing just starting to brown.

Remove from the oven, plate and serve almost immediately.

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