Celebrate Stuffed Mushroom Day

Stuffed Mushroom Day?

There's literally a day, it seems, for just about everything! Though I am happy that Stuffed Mushrooms are being celebrated, especially leading into an appetizer-centric weekend. With the Super Bowl airing this Sunday, we're getting our menu ready! And in the spirit of celebration, we're excited to share our collaboration with Food Bloggers of Canada and the very talented, Beth Dunham

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Rich, earthy mushroom caps roasted with a sweet balsamic glaze, stuffed with a creamy mixture of goat cheese and roasted red peppers and crowned with golden toasted pine nuts. Ideal party fare, this appetizer is sure to impress even your most discerning guest. The recipe is a breeze to assemble and, because it's vegetarian, gluten-free, and low carb, almost everyone can partake.  

Many recipes I've tried have resulted in stuffed mushrooms with soggy bottoms.  Depending on the moisture content of the filling or the mushrooms themselves, and the cooking method, the end product can be less than ideal.  By roasting the mushroom caps before you fill them, you not only concentrate the mushroom flavour, but avoid the soggy bottom blues. 

Credit goes to the uber talented Renée from Sweetsugarbean.com for introducing me to this technique; once I tried the Sausage & Asiago Stuffed Mushrooms with Balsamic Glaze recipe she developed for Mushrooms Canada, I was instantly a convert.  I've fooled around with many different fillings and numerous variations on the glaze since, and this goat cheese filling with a balsamic glaze is among my very best efforts.   



Ingredients
500 grams large button mushrooms - about 20-24 mushrooms
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 
130 gram soft goat cheese (4.5 ounces)
2 green onions – very finely chopped
1/4 cup finely minced roasted red pepper
Pinch hot paprika
2 -3 tablespoons pine nuts –toasted

Method
Preheat the oven to 375F.  Wipe the mushrooms clean with a paper towel and remove the stems, reserve for another use.  Whisk together the olive oil and balsamic vinegar and coat the mushrooms with the mixture using a pastry brush (or your fingers). Line a baking sheet with parchment and arrange your mushroom caps stem side up for roasting.  Bake for 20-30 minutes, depending on their size, until they are light brown. The oil and balsamic will caramelize to form a sweet glaze which will contrast nicely with the earthy roasted mushrooms. Don't be alarmed if the mushrooms release a lot of water during the roasting process. They will shrink a fair bit too.

While the mushrooms roast, toast your pine nuts and prepare the filling. Toasting the pine nuts is the most demanding part of this whole recipe.  They will go from golden brown to black in the blink of an eye, and pine nuts are so expensive I hate to waste a single one.  So, don't blink, and watch them carefully as you toast them in a hot dry pan (cast iron is best) for 2-3 minutes, just until light golden brown.  Remove the nuts from the hot pan, and set aside to cool.  To prepare the filling, stir together the goat cheese, roasted red peppers, green onion, and paprika until combined.  I always taste the filling at this point to see if I want to add a little more paprika.  You could also substitute cayenne pepper or a splash of your favourite hot sauce if you like things on the spicier side.

Once your mushrooms have been roasted, remove them from the oven, and flip them over to allow any excess moisture to drain. When ready, fill the mushrooms with a generous amount of the cheese mixture and press 5-6 pine nuts into the top of the cheese.  After all the mushrooms have been filled, replace the parchment on your baking sheet, arrange the mushroom caps on the tray and return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes.  Make sure you take the time to sample one before you serve them, they're likely to disappear quickly.

These stuffed mushrooms are equally at home served alongside fancy hors d'oeuvres at a posh cocktail party or with bowls of nachos and bottles of beer at your next Super Bowl party.

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If you like these savoury bites, be sure to try these stuffed caps too!

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