Saturday, February 14, 2009

Recipe: Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed mushrooms, when properly prepared, are a savory appetizer that will disappear quickly from the table. The secret to dynamite stuffed mushrooms is using crushed goldfish crackers in the stuffing (or other cheese-flavored crackers).

This recipe calls for bacon, onions, and Parmesan cheese to complement the cheese crackers, but you can stuff just about anything into a mushroom cap. Feel free to experiment. You'll generally want some bread-like substance as well as fat to help hold things together.

Ingredients
  • 1 lb button (or "regular old") mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion (about 1/4 of an onion)
  • 6 oz finely chopped bacon
  • 3/4 cup goldfish (or other cheese flavored) crackers, finely crushed
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • black pepper and salt to taste
Procedure
If you're preparing these just before serving, then go ahead and pre-heat the oven at 350 degrees F. You can also make these ahead of time and bake them off shortly before serving.

Heat a medium cast iron skillet on medium heat. While the pan warms, gently snap off the stems of each mushroom, and finely chop them. Once the skillet is hot, saute the bacon until it's just starting to cook through and getting brown around the edges. You should have a good bit of rendered bacon fat in the pan. Add onion, and cook for a minute or two, then add the chopped mushroom stems, and cook for another 5 minutes or so, stirring frequently.

Once the bacon is crisp and cooked, and the mushrooms and onions are cooked and starting to brown, add the Parmesan cheese and cracker crumbs. Mix everything together, and then pulse it in a food processor for 20 seconds or so to bring it to a finely ground consistency. Taste the mixture, and adjust with salt and pepper if need be. Remember, this is finger food, and the mixture will be accompanied by a relatively bland mushroom cap, so be sure there's enough salt. Use a spoon to fill each cap with mixture.

Wipe out the cast iron skillet with a paper towel, and pack in the stuffed mushrooms for baking. Bake them in the oven for 25 minutes or so.

If you're headed out to a party, bring the mushrooms unbaked... and bake them off at the party. They're pretty resilient, and can hang out in the fridge for a day or longer unbaked.

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