Batter Licker

December 19, 2011

sausage and spinach stuffed mushrooms

Do you know anyone who doesn’t like stuffed mushrooms? I don’t. Even self-proclaimed mushroom-avoiders dig in eagerly when the mushrooms are stuffed with ingredients they love.

Sausage. Greens. Bacon. Cheese. Bread crumbs. Whatever you have on hand or know your friends and family love to eat generally works as a stuffing.

My favorite thing about stuffing mushrooms, besides the endless flexibility with stuffing ingredients, is that the natural size of mushrooms is appetizer-friendly: one or two bites’ worth of food. No time-consuming prep required, as it often is when I’m trying to convert something larger to small, bite-sized, nibble-appropriate portions.

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I also love that the mushrooms themselves are naturally shaped as cups, which allows them to act as fairly mess-free, self-contained vessels. This makes them easy to serve with or sans toothpicks, which is key because I often forget to pick up toothpicks anyway.

I served these at a friend’s dinner party alongside squash and goat cheese-stuffed jalapenos, which conveniently bake at the same temperature for about 5 minutes less than the mushrooms. If you go that route, just pop the stuffed jalapenos into the oven about 5 minutes after you start baking the mushrooms, and everything will be done at the same time.

Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms
Makes about 30 generously stuffed mushrooms

The stuffing ingredients can easily be altered to accommodate picky eaters, vegetarians, vegans and gluten-free friends. Just nix the meat and/or cheese and/or bread crumbs, and season to taste with additional salt, pepper and garlic powder – or other spices you enjoy. The chopped up mushroom stems are fairly meaty as it is, and if you want some crunch, add some chopped, toasted nuts or even water chestnuts to the mix!

16 oz. mushrooms (about 30), stems separated from caps and dirt wiped off
1/2 c. yellow onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 lb. spicy Italian sausage
1/2 pkg frozen spinach (about 8 oz), thawed & drained
1/4 c. breadcrumbs
1/4 c. finely grated parmesan
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400F.

Finely chop mushroom stems (by hand or in food processor). In a pan over medium heat, saute stems and onion in 1 Tbsp. olive oil until onions are soft and translucent. Pour into medium bowl, and set aside.

Cook sausage in same pan, breaking it up into small bits as it browns. Once fully browned, transfer to bowl with sauteed onions. Add spinach, breadcrumbs, parmesan, and garlic powder to bowl, and stir until evenly distributed. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Fill mushroom caps with the sausage filling, pressing stuffing into the caps until they are fairly heaping. Bake until mushroom caps are cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes.

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