Mushrooms Stuffed Two Ways

Stuffed mushrooms are one of those appetizers that are about as versatile as you can get. The numbers of different fillings are endless. The stuffing can be anything from simple breadcrumbs, to seafood, to vegetables, to meat. Any kind of meat — from a sausage that you remove from the casing and sauté, to chicken, beef, lamb or any other meat you can think of — will make an excellent stuffing. Not only can you vary the meat, but you also can create different toppings for them. I mean, all you need is to decide about what flavors go together and plan from there. For an example, if you stuff the mushroom with a lamb filling, you can top it with a mint hollandaise sauce.

Try Smitty’s recipes for Grilled Stuffed Mushrooms.

Wait. You never heard of mint hollandaise? Well, I have to admit, I never had either, although I’m sure I’m not the first to come up with the idea, but it sounded like it would match perfectly so I figured, what the heck. It was great. That’s the beauty of cooking, what I am always telling you: there are no rules when it comes to cooking other than creating dishes that work for your taste buds.

Stuffed mushrooms are one of those appetizers that are about as versatile as you can get.

The one thing I will always do before I stuff mushrooms is to sauté them. It really does affect the texture of your finished product for most fillings. First you want to gently break off the stems holding them as close to the base inside the cap as possible. Then, sauté the caps in a little butter starting with the cavity face down for a minute or two and then flipping them over to finish. If you start them cavity up, then when you flip them the weight of the cap will collapse the mushroom sides. Be sure to save the juice as a sauce base for the topping if you want.

If you think about making about 1 teaspoon or a tiny bit more of filling per cap, that should give you enough extra to try it a few times to get the seasonings right.

Here are two fillings that are easy, as well as tasty. Enjoy.

Butternut Squash
12 mushrooms, stemmed & sautéed
½ butternut squash, peeled, seeded & cubed
Pinch of nutmeg
3-5 sage leaves, fine chopped
1-2 T butter
Salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
1-2 drops real maple syrup

Season the squash with a little salt and pepper and bake until tender.

Add half the butter, nutmeg and half the sage and mix well. Add the rest of the butter to taste or if the mix is still dry and season to taste.

Fill the caps, place a drop or two of maple syrup on top and heat under the broiler for about half a minute or so.

Chicken Rice Mushrooms
12 mushrooms, stemmed & sautéed (save liquid in a bowl)
Mushroom stems, chopped small & sautéed (save liquid)
1-2 baked chicken thighs, skinned & boned, chopped small
1 C cooked rice
3-5 sage leaves, fine chopped
2 oz. cream sherry
4 oz. heavy cream
Salt & pepper to taste

Lift the chicken skin, season the thigh and replace the skin and bake the chicken. Once baked, skin, bone and chop the chicken. This will give maximum flavor and keep it moist.

Cook the rice; add half the sage as soon as you remove the rice from the stove and fluff it in with a fork.

Blend chicken, rice and sautéed stems and season with the rest of the sage, salt and pepper, as needed, and stuff the caps. In the pan used for sautéing the mushrooms, add the sherry and let reduce until nearly gone or is becoming jelly-like. Add the mushroom juice and heavy cream and let reduce until thick. Season with salt and pepper and another few drops of sherry to taste and pour over caps.