Rich and delicious, with a complex flavor profile, serve these little beauties to your friends the next time they come over, or make a tray for yourself and eat appetizers for dinner.
- 1 pound pork sausage
- Any type of sausage can be used here from breakfast sausage to Bratwurst to Italian Sausage (ensure you remove the pork from its casing if using a sausage in links, like Brats). Consider the additional spices and flavors that Bratwurst and Italian Sausages will impart as well.
- 2 pounds Baby Portobello Mushrooms (also called Cremini)
- White Button Mushrooms can also be used.
- 1 Large Red Onion
- 4-6 Scallions
- 2 Red/Yellow/Orange Bell Peppers
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 cup beer/wine
- Water can also be used.
- 1 8oz. package of room temperature Cream Cheese, Goat Cheese or Neufchâtel
- Neufchâtel is softer than Cream Cheese, and has the flavor, and aroma profile, of mushrooms. Do not obsess over the type of cheese you use, and do not go to a specialty store to find Neufchâtel if your local supermarket doesn’t carry it; we used plain, American Cream Cheese in ours, and it was marvelous.
- Begin by browning your pork sausage over medium high heat (reducing the temperature as it cooks). Cook your pork for 8-12 minutes until fully browned. While your pork browns, remove the stems from your mushrooms, and rinse the stems in a colander, or mesh strainer. Place the stems into a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse the stems 5-10 times (scraping down the bowl halfway through if necessary), until the stems are in a fine dice. Add the chopped stems to your skillet with the browned pork and add 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Stir to combine and cook down until the moisture has evaporated (another 5-10 minutes, depending on your oven strength). While your stems cook down, prep your red onion by removing the outer most layer(s) until you see edible, undamaged onion. Chop the onion in half, and place into your food processor. Roughly chop your peppers and place them into the food processor along with your onion. Take your scallions and divide them into the white/light green portions, and the darker green portions. Trim off the root ends towards the white portion of your scallions and place the white, and light green parts, into your food processor; save the dark green portions. Pulse these additional vegetables 10-15 times until they’ve been broken down into very fine pieces. You may need to scrape down the bowl mid-way through your pulses.
- Continue to stir, and break apart your cooking sausage and mushroom stems. You want all components to be in very fine pieces to fit best into your mushroom caps. Once you’ve browned your pork and mushroom stems, add your chopped red pepper, onion, and scallion mixture to your skillet. Add your remaining 1 teaspoon of salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using). Stir to combine, and allow to cook for another 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the moisture has evaporated from your vegetables, add your 1/4 cup beer/wine or water, and your 8 oz. cream cheese. Reduce your heat to low, and allow the mixture to blend together, another 3-5 minutes. Turn your heat off, and continue to stir until one cohesive mixture is obtained. Finely chop your remaining, green scallion tops, and stir them into your mixture. Taste a bit of your mixture and adjust for salt, or other seasoning (this stuffing will be piped into lean mushroom caps, so you want this mixture to be well seasoned). Set your mixture aside to cool.
GET CHEFFY TIP!- If there was ever a time to Get Cheffy, this is it; there would be absolutely no rules to what you stuff these mushrooms with. For proteins, you could easily change up the pork and substitute cooked bacon, shrimp, crab, or create a vegetarian version and omit the animal protein completely. For vegetables, strong aromatics will be your best bet (garlics, onions, leeks, etc.), but you can expand beyond that with sautéed spinach, minced artichokes, minced sun-dried tomatoes or leftover mashed potato. The cheese options are equally boundless as you’re free to mix/match combinations of your favorite cheeses (cheddars, parmesans, etc.), into your cream cheese base, until you find something you love. Clean out your fridge with this recipe; it’ll be hard to find something that doesn’t work.
3. While your mixture cools, turn your oven to 425 degrees. Begin to prep your mushroom caps:
Do I wash my mushrooms?!?!– How to clean a mushroom is a polarizing and debatable topic in the culinary world. There are many techniques-does one rub the mushroom with a damp paper towel?….does one brush the mushrooms firmly with a pastry brush to remove dirt?…..does one say, “forget this”, and call Dominos?……what does one do?!?!?! Allow Get Cheffy to add to the din of noise with our perspective…..Any vegetable, if dirty, gets washed. However, unlike other produce items, a mushroom does absorb water, acting like a sponge to any liquid it encounters. Our best method for cleaning mushrooms was a quick, cold-water spritz to dislodge any dirt, (no more than a few seconds in strongly running cold water). This prevents water-logged mushrooms while removing excess dirt.
4. After you’ve cleaned your mushroom caps, line a sheet tray with parchment, and place your caps onto the tray, stem side up. Drizzle one tablespoon of olive, or vegetable oil onto your mushrooms along with 1 teaspoons salt. Using your hands, incorporate the oil and salt into each mushroom (both in the stem cavity, and on the underside). Line up your mushrooms on your sheet tray, stem side up, to prepare them for their filling. Once your filling has cooled, begin to pipe your mixture into each mushroom. You can use a piping bag if you have them, or a ziplock bag with the end snipped off. Failing either of these options, you can simply spoon your mixture into each mushroom cap. You want to be generous as possible with the portion of filling that goes into each mushroom. Don’t overfill, but don’t skimp either, or the balance between lean mushroom and rich filling will be thrown off in the final product. Bake at 425 degrees on the upper rack of your oven for 7-10 minutes until the tops are golden brown. Serve
GET CHEFFY TIP!- You just made an amazing dip and didn’t even know it! You can stop the recipe after completing step #2, and serve this stuffing mixture, as is, alongside crackers, vegetables, and grilled breads. Toss a handful of panko breadcrumbs onto the top of the mixture, and broil for 2-3 minutes until browned.