Thursday, February 27, 2014

Baked Stuffed Mushrooms

I feel genuinely sorry for those sad, misguided people who claim to dislike - or even hate - mushrooms. because they are missing out on one of this life's most delicious things. On the other hand, their narrow-minded prejudice leaves more fungus for those among us with the wit and discernment to appreciate the 'shroom's unique and earthy charms. 

Today's treatment of the delightful Agaricus bisporus is based on a recipe posted on the PPK awhile back, which was in its turn inspired  by one from the infamous Pioneer Woman. (I won't link to the latter because A. her recipes are bursting with every type of carnage imaginable, and B. her whole cowgirl schtick annoys the living bejesus out of me.) Anyway, while planning snacks for what was conceived as a cozy family-and-a-few-close-friends New Year's Eve - in the event it became something of a bacchanal, but that's another story - I came across this recipe and a little bell went off in my head because what could be better suited to a finger-foodie occasion, right? 

Well, let me tell you these babies totally delivered the goods: vegans, omnivores, invited drunkards, and random droppers-in alike devoured them, and my only regret was that I hadn't made twice as many. These will definitely be making a reappearance at future gatherings, and I hope they will at yours, too. (For the record, I also made mini crustless quiches, pesto pinwheels, a baked spinach and artichoke dip I have yet to type up, and a bunch of less complicated stuff like crudités, dip, chips and salsa, etc. 'Twas good!)

Baked Stuffed Mushrooms
~ 1 tbsp. ground flaxseed
~ 3 tbsp. water
~ 1 8oz container Tofutti cream cheese
~ 3/4 cup nutritional yeast
~ 3 10 oz. packages large white mushrooms, cleaned and de-stemmed
~ 2 tbsp. olive oil
~ 1 medium onion, diced very fine
~ 4 cloves garlic, minced
~ 1 tsp. each: salt, sage, marjoram, thyme
~ ½ tsp. each: white pepper, dill, smoked paprika
~ 1/3 cup white wine
~ 1 package veggie meatballs, cooked and mashed (I like Nate's or TJ's)
~ 1 tbsp. each: hot sauce, vegan Worcestershire sauce
~ 1 tsp. each: Liquid Smoke, Marmite

~ Preheat the oven to 375 fahrenheit and coat a large, rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
~ In a mixing bowl, whisk together the ground flax seed and water and allow to thicken for 5 minutes. Stir in the cream cheese and nooch, mixing until smooth, and set aside.
~ In a large, deep skillet, sauté the onion over medium heat until soft and golden but not brown; about 7 minutes.
~ While the onion is cooking, finely chop the mushroom stems, add them to the onions, and continue cooking about 5 minutes more.
~ Add the garlic and dry seasonings and cook a few more minutes.
~ Pour in the wine to deglaze the pan and cook another minute or two, then add the mashed meatballs and stir to combine.
~ Add the hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, Liquid Smoke, and Marmite. Mix well, and continue cooking another 5 minutes. 
~ Mix in the cream cheese/nooch mixture, combine thoroughly, and set aside to cool to room temperature.
~ Carefully fill the mushroom tops with stuffing mix (you can pack them pretty full) and arrange them on the baking sheet; I had just about the right amount of stuffing for the number of mushrooms, but your mileage may vary.
~ Bake at 375 for 30 minutes (ovens differ wildly from one another, so check them periodically), until the tops are browned and the whole business smells delicious. 

~ Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes before transferring to a platter and serving to the rapturous applause of family and/or friends.

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