Stuffed Mushrooms

To those who celebrate, I hope you had a terrific Thanksgiving!  We celebrated part 1 on Thursday with my family and part 2 last night with Shane’s family.  Both were lots of fun and filled with great food and family.  In between the two celebrations, I lost my mind and decided to do some Black Friday shopping.  Every year I talk about going out, then Friday morning 3 am rolls around, my alarm sounds and I turn it off and go back to sleep.  This year, though, I dragged myself out of bed – well, off the couch actually, I decided it might be easier to get up if I slept on the couch – and hit a few stores.  I did get some good deals so it was a worthwhile trip, but wow, was I ever surprised by the crowds.  All the stories I’d read about crazy shoppers on Black Friday were definitely confirmed 🙂

Stuffed Mushrooms
{photo staging on a large rock in my mom’s backyard – work with what you have, right? 🙂 }

So, is your fridge stuffed with Thanksgiving leftovers?  We didn’t actually take anything home with us from Thanksgiving dinner, so we are sans leftovers (well, aside from the turkey I cooked last weekend).  I think I’m ready to move on to thinking about Christmas and all of the cooking and baking that goes along with the month of December (though I’m not giving up on pumpkin yet – I’ll bake with it through at least the next few weeks!).  Whether you’re hosting parties, attending parties, making cookie trays or sharing gifts of food, you’ll likely be busy in the kitchen at some point in December.  Today, I thought we’d get a jump start on appetizer ideas.  It’s nice to have a few easy appetizer recipes in your arsenal and this one fits the bill.  I love make-ahead recipes and these stuffed mushrooms fall into that category too.  You can prep the filling ahead of time and either refrigerate it separately (pop the mushroom caps into a resealable zipper bag, throw them in your fridge and stuff them the next day), or stuff the caps immediately and refrigerate the assembled goodies until you’re ready to bake.  Stuffed mushrooms are fun because you can vary the filling in so many ways – this recipe is fairly simple with the filling consisting of the mushroom stems, onion, garlic, cheese and sausage, but you could use whatever makes you happy.  These were a big hit when I shared them at Thanksgiving on Thursday; I’ll definitely be whipping them up again at some point this holiday season, though I also have my idea on this french onion soup variation!

Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed Mushrooms
adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks

24 oz white button mushrooms (3 of the small blue containers)
1/3 pound hot pork sausage
1 small onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup chicken stock (or dry white wine)
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2-3 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley, minced
salt and pepper, to taste

Wipe the mushrooms with a damp cloth to remove any dirt.  Pop out the stems and chop them finely, then set aside. 

In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the sausage completely, stirring occasionally and using your spoon to break it apart.  Once browned, use a slotted spoon to transfer the sausage to a plate to cool.

Add the onions and garlic to the skillet and cook for 2 minutes.  Pour the chicken stock (or wine) into the pan and use a spoon to scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Continue cooking for a few minutes, allowing the chicken stock to evaporate.  Add the mushroom stems to the pan as well as 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and pepper, to taste.  Cook the mushroom stems until they are tender and most of the liquid has cooked out.  Remove the mixture to a plate to cool.

In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese and the egg yolk.  Add the Parmesan cheese and stir to combine.  Add the cooled sausage, the cooled mushroom/onion mixture and the parsley and mix until everything is well distributed.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Refrigerate the filling to allow it to firm up – I made mine the night before, but 30 minutes – 1 hour is probably all it needs.

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Mound the filling into the cavity of each mushroom.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.  Let rest for a few minutes before serving. 

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