Let me start by saying, I don’t like mushrooms. I know what you’re thinking, “then why the heck are you making them?!” Because, like so many other dishes in my life, I’m big into experimenting. Truth is, there is quite a lot of food I dislike when it’s prepared in it’s most common creations. Things like broccoli, which I love raw but dislike cooked any way but steamed… and very lightly at that. The problem is usually in the application itself. A perfect example of this would be the difference in baking a potato in the oven or in the slow cooker. Prepped exactly the same (lightly slathered in oil, salted then wrapped in foil), the cooker baked potato comes out with just that much more flavor and a perfect consistency. That said, I’m challenging myself to “The Great Mushroom Challenge of 2013”!
To help with this challenge will be Organics To You here in Portland, Oregon. An amazing delivery service (yes, you read that right D-LIV-ERR-EE) of local, organic produce! Yes. I. Am. In. Heaven! Delicious locally grown fruits and veggies, all organic and delivered? YES PLEASE! Not to mention how incredibly reasonably priced it is! Every week they compile a mixed box of what’s in season to be delivered to your door. And they have great add-ons like local dairy products, local meat, fresh herbs, ethnic foods, etc. So the choices are abound! But how are they helping me? Because they provided us with mushrooms. Crimini mushrooms to be exact. And as I’ve never made mushrooms before (because I don’t like them), I decided that it was high time to test my culinary skills and see if we can’t find me at least ONE way that I would eat mushrooms.
My first experiment is as the title suggests, sausage stuffed mushrooms. Here’s the recipe:
- 6-8 Crimini mushrooms
- 1 end piece of Oregon’s Hazelnut bread (or equivalent)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil and then some in a small dish for coating the mushrooms
- 1 Adell’s Chicken & Apple precooked sausage
- Clean and stemm your mushrooms but save the stems for the stuffing!
- Cut the sausage into slices and add to the food processor.
- Add mushroom stems, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 garlic cloves and the bread end to the food processor.
- Process until all ingredients are finely chopped and incorporated. Add olive oil to the mixture if you find it too dry. You want something that stays together well without being too moist. Set aside.
- Slather each mushroom top with olive oil to allow for a nice presentation (and flavor) when cooked.
- Lightly sprinkle salt inside each mushroom cap.
- Add caps to a baking sheet.
- Take a fork and gently press a small amount of stuffing inside the mushroom cap, enough to fill it generously. Repeat for all caps.
- Then create equal size balls of stuffing for each of your mushrooms. We are going to create large mounds of stuffing atop the mushroom which is why the stuffing can’t be too dry (or it will crumble) or too wet (it will slide off your cap). Add a ball of stuffing to each cap, pressing gently to create a mound the width of the cap but not over the edges.
- Then BROIL your stuffed mushrooms for 15 minutes or until they start to brown/crust at the top.
- Allow to cool and enjoy!
At the end of this experiment, do I still dislike mushrooms?
I can’t tell you how hesitant I was to even try it even though it smelled insanely delicious. I mean, it has a lot to do with consistency for me. So as I bit into the smallest one, I was absolutely shocked to find a very firm and moist consistency! Gone was the soggy eraser feel of nearly every mushroom I’ve had in my life previously. And the flavor?! Oi! The stuffing alone was a delight (and it has mushrooms in it!) but with the slight hint of the full mushroom cap just made a very pleasant food experience. So I guess the answer is… no, I no longer dislike mushrooms… as long as I’m the one making them. =D