I don’t think I’ve ever met a mushroom that I didn’t like.  I will eat them every chance I get.  So when I saw a recipe for stuffed mushrooms, I had to give them a try.

I expected them to be good, but what I didn’t expect was how simple they turned out to be.  You can make this recipe a day or two in advance, and just bake when you are ready to serve them.  There are not enough make-ahead recipes in this world, and the great thing about this one is that no one will be the wiser that you made these yesterday!

I have some kind of genetic inability to follow recipes as they are written, so here is my own version of stuffed mushrooms!

Mushrooms in a colanderStart with cremini mushrooms.  White button mushrooms would be okay, but creminis have so much more flavor.  These are often marketed as “baby bellas” in the grocery stores.  They are a brown, flavorful mushroom like portabellos, but as I understand it, they are not actually miniature portabellos.  Incidentally, if you have a Giant grocery store near you, mine usually has creminis for the same price as white mushrooms!  Choose medium-sized mushrooms: the small ones can be hard to fill, and if they’re too big the filling to mushroom ratio gets too high.

Wash the mushrooms.  This is a controversial issue in the foodie world.  Many people say not to wash mushrooms since they can get soggy.  However, some recent tests have debunked that theory, which is good because I don’t like to eat dirt.  😉  If you’re interested in more details about mushroom-washing, check out Alton Brown’s Good Eats, Myth Smashers episode.  Here it is on youtube; 1:20 on is the mushroom segment.

Once your mushrooms are clean, remove the stems.  Depending on the mushroom, you might be able to gently twist the stem and it will come completely out.  You may also need to use a small paring knife to remove the stem.  Carefully remove the firm part of the stem that is in the head of the mushroom, leaving a cavity.  They won’t look very pretty at this point, but don’t worry…no one sees the inside!

hollow mushroom

Next, cut the tough end of the stem off and discard it.  Then, finely dice the stems.

diced mushroom stems

Dice a small to medium–sized onion equally finely.  Shallots would probably be a really nice substitution for the onion here as well.

diced onion

Heat 1-2 Tbsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.

heating olive oil

When oil is hot (shimmering) add mushroom stems, onion and 1/4 tsp or so of salt.  Cook, stirring occasionally for several minutes until mushrooms and onion soften and begin to brown.  Add about 1/4 tsp of ground pepper, 1/4 tsp of garlic granules (you can use garlic powder or 1 clove of crushed fresh garlic instead), and a pinch of cayenne pepper.

browned mushrooms and onion

Add the mushroom/onion mixture to an 8-ounce brick of cream cheese.  I use the reduced fat neufchâtel cheese for this recipe with zero problems.  Add about 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese.

stuffing ingredients

Stir mixture until well-blended.  At this point, it is a really good idea to taste your filling and tweak it to your taste.  You want to be slightly strong, since it will be balanced by the mushroom itself in the finished dish.

mushroom fillingFilling the mushrooms is next.  This part wasn’t nearly as hard as I expected it to be.  The first time that I made these I put the filling in a zipper bag and cut the corner off and filled the mushrooms with that.  This time I used my cake decorating kit with the largest tip.  It worked like a charm, except for a few pieces of onion that clogged it.  You can also simply use a small spoon to fill the mushrooms.

filled mushroomsIf you are making these ahead of time, cover and refrigerate the mushrooms at this point.

When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  I like to sprinkle the mushrooms with a little parmesan before baking, which gives some nice browning variation to the finished mushroom.  This time I tried doing that before refrigerating, and they weren’t nearly as pretty.

Bake for 20 minutes, until mushrooms are quite hot and liquid just begins to form under them.  Like I said, these weren’t as pretty as usual, but yum, oh yum.

finished mushrooms

Here is a printable, pdf version of this recipe.  Worth Doing Halfway-Stuffed Mushrooms

If you try this recipe, would you please leave a comment to let me know how it turns out?

This recipe is linked to Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty & Bedlam