Thursday, December 5, 2019

Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms Stuffed with Italian Sausage and Asiago Chese

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are mine. And, as usual, I will only write about products that I really love! 

Last night I caught the tail end of Mr. Bean's Christmas. You know the one. He ends up with the turkey on his head and hilarity ensues. When I run into one of the long ago Christmas specials like Mr. Bean, or A Charlie Brown Christmas I feel all warm and fuzzy inside, or maybe it's just the wine or maybe I'm just feeling nostalgic. This is nostalgia's prime time though, no? It seeps in from all sorts of crevices - like when you unpack your boxes of ornaments, and there's a Christmas card from 1999 tucked in, from an old friend you haven't seen in as long. Or when you hear "River" and have to sit down because it gets you every time. It doesn't take much these days to momentarily transport you back to another Christmas; another life.     

Stuffed mushrooms are pretty classic, and no doubt conjure up culinary nostalgia. And after one bite of these babies, you won't forget them, that is for sure. If you are running to and from various parties this season, or hosting one of your own for just you and your cat, here's an appetizer that will get rave reviews from other party people. They will disappear in a flash, so bring lots! I daresay this could be the best stuffed mushroom I've ever eaten. There. I just put that out there. Let it sink in. Good. Now let me tell you how I made them. Take some lovely, fresh super large white button mushrooms. Wipe them clean with a damp paper towel. Take the stems off the mushrooms and save for another use. Toss the mushroom caps in balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Salt and pepper too, please. Roast them for 30 minutes. The best part?  Most of the liquid will be released during the first roasting, so you won't end up with soggy mushrooms. Ick. Who wants those? 

Meanwhile, make your sausage filling.  I used Grimm's Fine Foods Spicy Italian Sausage, which was loaded with flavour, and I love that it is Gluten Free, Lactose Free, Soy Free, with no added MSG. Plus, it's made with premium Canadian pork, and lord knows I love supporting Canadian farmers and producers. I cooked off the Spicy Italian Sausage with onions, garlic, rosemary and fennel seed. Be sure to scrape up any brown bits from the skillet as that is where all of the flavour is. Dump the sausage mixture into a mixing bowl and stir in some cream cheese and grated Asiago cheese. This is good stuff.  (I had extra filling leftover from this recipe, so I just put some on Naan bread and it made lovely pizza.  Just so you know.)  When the mushrooms are done roasting flip them over to drain the juices, then flip again to stuff the cap.  I filled them so they were heapingThen I topped them with more Asiago. The stuffed mushrooms baked for another 30 minutes until all golden and simply gorgeous.  Let them cool for a bit before tasting or you'll burn your tongue like I did.

I really loved the textures here:  the crunchy cheesy topping, into the creamy, spicy filling and meatiness of the mushroom.  Super fun to eat, and bursting with flavour. The fennel seed and rosemary are perfect compliments to the Grimm's Spicy Italian Sausage. Roasting the mushrooms in balsamic vinegar and olive oil first really adds a tart/sweet factor, and rids the mushroom of extra juices. Brilliant, that. This appetizer will no doubt rock your Christmas party of 1 or 21. 

Sausage & Asiago Stuffed Mushrooms with Balsamic Glaze

20 large mushrooms, cleaned with damp paper towel, stem removed and saved for later use
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
3 links Grimm's Spicy Italian Sausage
2 tsp fresh finely chopped rosemary
1 tsp dried fennel seed
1/2 onion, diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 ounces (120grams) cream cheese
1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese, plus some for topping

1. In a large bowl, toss the mushrooms with the olive oil balsamic vinegar, generous pinches of salt and pepper. Place onto a parchment lined baking sheet and roast in a preheated 375F oven for about 30 min.  Stir once or twice, flipping the mushrooms over in the last final moments so that the juices drain out. Remove from the oven.
2.Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, squeeze the sausage meat out of the casings  and cook until no longer pink, breaking it apart with the back of a spoon. You want it fairly crumbly and in small pieces.  Stir in onions and garlic and spices, and cook a few minutes longer, until onion is softened. Scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the skillet.
3. Remove from heat and place into a bowl, along with the cheeses (save some of the Asiago for topping). Stir well to combine. Don't be afraid to use your hands.
4. Take a teaspoon and fill each mushroom cap so that it is quite full. Sprinkle with  remaining Asiago.  Bake at 375F for about 30-35minutes, until golden. Can easily be doubled if feeding a large crowd. Makes 20 stuffed mushrooms with a little extra filling. 

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