The first time my mother made these, I was certain they contained meat.
Was I ever surprised to learn there was not one bit of hamburger or even
sausage in them, and yet the texture, and even the taste surprised me.
Certainly, one could add meat if desired, but with this recipe, even the
most discerning guest will wonder. appetizers, Superbowl treats, after school snacks!
The secret? Walnuts and bread crumbs! You don't have to be a vegetarian to
enjoy these mushrooms. Hubby is a bonafide carnivore, and he loves them!
These mushrooms are so easy to make, and the best part is, they can be made ahead
of time, covered with plastic wrap and stuffed into the refrigerator until serving time.
Then simply bake at 350° for about 20 minutes and voila!
STEP ONE...THE RECIPE
Thank you, Mom, for introducing me to the recipe, as featured in a tiny 2004 cookbook
from an insurance agency. Kudos to Gourmet Magazine for featuring them in 1997, and
Epicurious for posting the recipe as well. Always happy to lend credit where credit is due!
* 1 pound of mushrooms (White button were used for this recipe)
* 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
* 1/2 cup walnuts
* 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
* 1 onion
* 1 cup coarsely grated sharp Cheddar
* 1/2 cup fine bread crumbs (Progresso brand was used)
* 1/4 teaspoon salt (add more to suit taste, if desired)
I have often found it very helpful to ensure you have all of your ingredients
before embarking on a recipe. It is also wise to read the recipe, making certain
you understand the process.
So gather up your ingredients, and let's get cooking!
STEP 2...REMOVE STEMS FROM MUSHROOMS, WASH THOROUGHLY
Hold a mushroom upside down in the palm of your hand, securing your palm
around it, cupping the mushroom. With your other hand (this is assuming you
have two) wiggle and bend the stem until you hear it crack. Then you can wiggle
the stem in the other direction, popping it out.
Don't yank it out, or you will risk cracking the mushroom cap, your stuffing
will fall out, the appetizers will look terrible, your visitors will leave. Okay, maybe
not that bad.
Remove all of the stems and set them aside. You will be using the stems.
You may find it necessary to 'clean up' the mushrooms just a bit, if some of
the stem remains intact. Don't be afraid to be neat and tidy, but it is not
necessary to drill the hole deeper. It will be just fine.
STEP 3: CHOP, AND LIGHTLY TOAST WALNUTS
Chop the walnuts until they are fine. It is not necessary to get carried away, just
make them tiny, especially if you will be using a pastry decorator, you want to make
certain the filling will pass through the hole of the tip you choose, or the corner of a
plastic bag / pastry bag, etc.
Walnuts may be toasted in the oven, but I prefer to toast them in a small
saucepan on the stovetop, stirring frequently to avoid burning them.
Admittedly, if I put them in the oven, I would walk off and forget them, burn
them, you get the picture.
Set the chopped and toasted walnuts aside.
STEP 4: CHOP MUSHROOM STEMS, DICE THE ONION
Chop up the mushroom stems, dice the onion into tiny pieces.
Though the recipe calls for one full onion, I only had medium-to-large
onions on hand, so I used but one half.
STEP 5: BUTTER MUSHROOM CAPS, PLACE UPSIDE-DOWN ON FOIL-WRAPPED PAN
Butter the mushroom caps. You may choose to use a pastry brush, dabbing butter
on each individual mushroom, or you can do it quick (not lazy) way like me.
Place 6 tablespoons of melted butter in a large bowl that is big enough to
hold all of the mushrooms. Swish, swirl and flip the mushrooms in the bowl
to coat them all with butter.
Remove each mushroom, turning upside down for just a second to empty
out any pool of butter that may be inside the cap, then place each cap on
a foil-covered pan, empty side up.
STEP 6: LIGHTLY COOK MUSHROOM STEMS IN BUTTER UNTIL SOFTENED
Pour any remaining butter from the mushroom caps into a large frying pan. If
you don't have much butter left, don't hesitate to melt another few tablespoons
On medium heat, cook the mushroom stems in butter until softened. This will only
take a few minutes.
STEP 7: ADD ONIONS AND BREAD CRUMBS TO CHOPPED STEMS, STIRRING WELL...
Stir in the diced onions and bread crumbs to the mix in the frying pan, and mix well.
It may be easier to sort of mash and move around the mixture with a large, flat spoon.
Don't worry. I realize it may look unattractive, but in the end, everything will be fine.
STEP 8: REMOVE FROM HEAT, ADD PARSLEY AND CHEESE, MIX WELL, ADD WALNUTS
Remove the mixture from heat and add the parsley and grated cheese.
Mix well. Add the walnuts and mix until everything is incorporated.
STEP 9: LOAD YOUR GUNS (OR SPOONS)
While these nifty little tools are handy, they are not required. You can
fill a plastic pastry bag with the mushroom filling, cut off a small section of the
corner, and fill the mushroom caps just fine.
But hey, for ten bucks, this tool will come in handy for so many things.
Deviled eggs, filled celery sticks, decorating cakes and cookies, filling mushroom caps...
This tool is very inexpensive, and yet so valuable in your kitchen.
STEP 10: FILL MUSHROOM CAPS
Fill each mushroom cap well over the top edge. Don't worry, you will
have plenty of filling, so make a nice bump on each mushroom. If you
chop your ingredients fine enough, the filling will take on the pattern of
a star tip for your decorating gun.
STEP 11: BAKE AND ENJOY
Bake the mushrooms at 350° degrees for approximately 20 minutes.
Crimini are immature/baby portabellos. That might work. The consideration is that white button mushrooms have thick walls and deep pockets while crimini and mature portabellos are more flat with relatively thinner walls. That said, I'd substitute Manchego for cheddar if using crimini or portabello. Feta would be good too but eliminate the salt since it is salty and so are the Italian seasoned (Progresso and Vigo) crumbs.