A couple of nights ago I made these stuffed mushrooms after discovering a bag full of very large button mushrooms sitting in our fridge. Funny enough as I sit here and write this post I have just realized that I made stuffed zucchini with vegetable rice and cheese exactly one year prior on the same date. Maybe I should make it an annual tradition...
Regardless of the funny coincidence, I had actually been thinking to myself that I hadn't made any "stuffed" dishes in a while and these mushrooms presented the perfect opportunity. The stuffing mixture was just a random mix based on the ingredients I had in the fridge and pantry. After tasting the finished product, my mom and I both agreed that the stuffing tasted great but the mushrooms were a little too "meaty". The flavor was quite intense and she suggested that maybe next time I try pre-baking the mushrooms caps for 15 minutes, stuffing them, and then returning them to the oven for the last 5 minutes, just so that the panko crumbs crisp up and become golden. This sounded like a good idea because this way the mushrooms will soften on their own first and the stuffing doesn't actually need baking.
The real challenge in making these mushrooms actually came when I had to stick them in the oven. Unfortunately, our oven door has a poor design and there have been several occasions when the handle has come off the hinges. The first time it happened to me was when I was making cookies and cream cookies for my friend's birthday. Since then it has happened a couple more times but luckily my mother has been present each time to fix the problem. Generally what happens is that I open the oven door only to have the handle fall off and then I yell out for my mom to come rescue me. This time, I could tell the handle was loose and I warned her that I thought it would come off at any moment...and of course I was right. As I went to retrieve the mushrooms from the oven the handle came unhinged and I was left holding the oven door in one hand and the tray of mushrooms in the other. However unlike the previous times, my mom decided to try a new technique this time to fix the door. Now we just have to wait and see if this solves the problem any better.
Update: I have made the stuffed mushrooms again and followed my mom's suggestions. The mushrooms turned out great and by pre-baking them the intense "meaty" flavor became a non-issue. They were definitely a little softer and harder to handle when stuffing but worth the effort. My brother went especially crazy over them and said he never realized vegetables could taste so good. Success!
Note: This recipe can be altered to be vegetarian or with meat. I suggest keeping the cream cheese as the base and the same proportions for the mix-ins. Also, I have changed the recipe directions based on my mom's suggestions.
- 12 large button mushrooms, stems removed and finely chopped
- 1/2 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 bell pepper, finely chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1/4 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
- 8 oz (1 cup) cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
- In a large skillet heat up some olive oil over medium heat then lightly saute the onions until translucent, about 2-3 minutes. I was using sundried tomatoes packed in oil so I actually used some of the oil from the jar in order to really infuse the flavor.
- Add the chopped mushroom stems and cook until soft and brown.
- Add the bell pepper, garlic, and sundried tomatoes and cook until the peppers soften, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool slightly. Meanwhile prepare the mushroom caps by lightly drizzling with olive oil and seasoning with salt and pepper. Arrange the mushrooms on a baking tray, stem side down, lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil and bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 minutes.
- While the mushroom caps are in the oven, finish preparing the stuffing by mixing the skillet ingredients with the cream cheese and cilantro.
- Allow the mushroom caps to cool slightly (just enough so that they are easy to handle) and then empty any liquid that may have pooled inside them. Proceed to carefully spoon the stuffing mixture into and on top of the caps. Mix the panko crumbs together with the grated parmesan and dip each mushroom, stuffing side down, into the mix.
- Return the tray with the mushrooms to the oven and stick under the broiler until the panko crumbs turn golden, about 5 minutes.