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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Stuffed Mushrooms

These are hands-down the best stuffed mushrooms ever, and once you make them for family and friends they'll be requesting them for every event!  It's really easy to do most of the prep the day before, in fact you'll achieve the best results if you do.


1 1/2 pounds medium-size fresh mushrooms (all approximately the same size)
6 slices bacon
1/2 cup minced bell pepper
1/2 cup minced onion
6 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3/4 cup bread crumbs (homemade or store-bought bread crumbs or Panko crumbs)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

The Day Before Serving Day:

Put the bacon in the freezer to firm up.  It's easier to dice that way.  Remove the cream cheese from the fridge to soften.

Clean the mushrooms and let them dry well on paper towels.  Trim off the very ends of the stems (throw the trimmings in your veggie freezer bag for veggie broth later) and separate the stems carefully from the caps.  Line a gallon-size ziplock bag with a paper towel.  Gently lay the mushroom caps on the paper towel in the ziplock in a single layer.  Use more than one ziplock bag if necessary.  Seal the bag and put the mushrooms in the fridge.

Finely dice the mushroom stems.

Remove the bacon from the freezer.  Use a very sharp knife to dice the bacon.

Cook the diced bacon, minced bell pepper, and minced onion in a skillet over medium heat until the bacon is partly cooked but not crisp and the bell pepper and onion are crisp-tender.  Pour into a strainer and drain off grease and liquid.  Transfer bacon mixture to a storage bowl (with a lid), add diced mushroom stems, softened cream cheese, Worcestershire sauce, and salt and pepper to taste.  Mix well while still warm.  It's easiest to mix with a fork.  Put the lid on the storage bowl and refrigerate the filling.

Serving Day:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Remove mushrooms and filling from fridge.  Arrange mushroom caps in a single layer on an oven-safe platter (not your final serving platter).  Fill mushroom caps with the filling.  The easiest way to fill them neatly and evenly is to use a cookie scoop.

Put the platter of filled mushrooms in the oven for approximately 30 minutes, checking them every 10 minutes.  You'll be able to see and smell when it's time to remove the mushrooms from the oven.  Their texture will look different, they'll release some moisture, and they'll start to smell like, well, mushrooms.

Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Increase oven temperature to 375 degrees.

Melt the butter.  Stir the chopped parsley into the bread crumbs.  Add the melted butter and mix well using two forks.

When the mushrooms are cool enough to handle, gently press a small palmful of the bread crumbs to the top of each mushroom, covering the filling with a mound of crumbs.  Place the mushrooms on an oven-safe serving platter.  Return to the oven and bake just until bread crumb topping is golden brown and crispy, about 5 to 10 minutes.  Keep a close eye on them; the difference between golden brown and shrieking smoke alarm is about 2 seconds!

Note:  If you want to prepare the mushrooms at home and serve them somewhere else, after putting the bread crumbs on the mushrooms, wrap the platter tightly with plastic wrap.  At the serving location, remove plastic wrap and heat mushrooms at 350 degrees until the mushrooms are hot and the crumbs are golden brown and crispy, about 20 to 30 minutes.  Again, keep a close eye on them.

And One More Note:  We always intentionally increase the measurements of the filling ingredients so that we have extra filling left over.  The extra filling is decadently good rolled up in an omelet.

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