Monday, September 1, 2014

Modern Stuffed Mushrooms, Paleo Vegan and Heathy

This version of stuffed mushrooms may reframe them in your mind as a still relevant modern foodstuff. Begone ubiquitous cheese and breadcrumb appetizer. You will find neither here.

I love mushrooms, they naturally test as close to meat as any vegetable ever gets. Full of earthy umami taste and juice which makes us salivate for more.

I think the tradition of stuffing one food with another is very silly. I just don't get it. Stuffed peppers, squash, mushrooms. In Ottolenghi's Jerusalem there is a whole chapter titled "stuffed" about stuffed turnips, carrots, and other traditional delicacies. It have never understood why the stuffing and the stuffie are better off this way than if they were all in a pot together.  Can somebody explain?

Which brings me back to stuffed mushrooms, which I made on a whim, out of character, since I don't do stuffed things. They are fun because they stay juicy and come out in a round meatball-like shape. And everybody loves food in balls, this is a fact. Maybe this love is related to stuffed veggies?

These guys are not fussy, it would be easy to mess around with the recipe if you don't like parsley or some part, just replace it. I threw a little bit of cheese into a few of them to see if it made a big difference. It didnt. Cheese is yummy, so if you of your guests are in the mood for cheese, some grated parmesan or the like would be a good addition. But these guys are about the flavor of the mushroom, onion and sage. The wine adds complexity.

Modern Stuffed Mushrooms

20 ounces whole baby bella mushrooms (2 long grocery store containers)
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup small diced red onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon dried sage. (more if using fresh)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup dry white wine 
1 teaspoon salt
fresh ground black pepper

With your fingers, pop the stems off of the mushroom caps. Reserve the stems in a pile. Place the caps upside-down on a baking pan. (I lined mine with parchment paper hoping for easy cleanup, it helped a little bit, but not much actually.) 
Discard any yucky or old bits of the stems. Mince the mushroom stems finely. Put them in a bowl. Chop parsley, and red onion into pieces that are as small as the mushroom pieces. Mince garlic, add garlic, thyme and sage to the mixture. Sage works magic with mushrooms.
Add the salt, pepper, olive oil and white wine. Mix it all together well, look at how colorful! Follow your instincts, if you want more olive oil, do it! More sage, do it! The wine adds moisture and flavor, the mixture should feel moist but not wet, there should not be a puddle of liquid in the bowl. If there is, just distribute it into the mushroom caps at the end. 
Fill the mushroom caps with stuffing. This is accomplished best, messily, with a spoon and hands. There should be enough for all the mushroom caps. Try to get the stuffing to stay inside and on top to make a round mushroom! 
Bake in a preheated oven at 350° for about an hour, until they are done. Dark brown, tender, juicy, crispy bits on top. They will look like this:
Serve hot for best wow-factor. They store for a week in the fridge. And they reheat super well! (Even as I did over an open fire on a recent camping trip.)

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