Welcoming Back Fall Flavors
Fall is one of my favorite times of the year in New England. The air turns crisp and into a freshness you can feel as you walk outside in the morning. Leaves across the region transform into vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow. Local farmers have also started to harvest some of the best flavors in the culinary world. A small sample of the flavors includes winter squash, apples, cranberries, garlic, and pomegranates. While not native to New England, mushrooms are a favorite in-season ingredient of mine to use during Fall, especially stuffed mushrooms! And it just so happens that today marks the start of National Mushroom Month.
September is National Mushroom Month
Much like Brussels sprouts, mushrooms have received an unfair amount of criticism over the years. Those who aren’t fans of mushrooms remember them as a rubbery texture or a robust earthy flavor. But like Brussels sprouts, it depends on how they are prepared and cooked. If there’s one recipe card that should be in every cook’s recipe box, it’s stuffed mushrooms. Depending on the stuffing ingredients, the flavor is a balance of savory and earthy balanced by mozzarella cheese.
Stuffed Mushrooms are a Recipe Box Classic
Stuffed mushrooms are a versatile recipe that serves well as an appetizer or side dish, and the recipe can easily multiply for large gatherings. Best of all, stuffed mushrooms can be made up to two days before an event and baked when ready to serve. When hosting an event, pre-assembling food is a game-changer! While the steps are simple, perfecting the consistency can be tricky. Baked too long, and your stuffing will come out too dry. But too short, and your mushrooms will still be raw and chewy in the center. The good news? I’ve taken the guesswork out for you!
The Trick to Stuffed Mushrooms is a Pre-Bake
One of the best tricks I learned from my friend Garrett to perfect stuffed mushrooms is a prebake before stuffing. A drizzle of oil and a sprinkle of sea salt create a mouth-watering flavor and texture. After the prebake, the trick is to make a stuffing with a balance of seasoning, cheese, and moisture (I’m sorry if that word is a trigger). Onions, green peppers, mushroom stems, mozzarella, and herbs create a punch of flavor in every bite. A large egg helps prevent the stuffing from drying and improves the consistency. Baby portabello mushrooms are the perfect size for entrees, and your guests will be begging you for the recipe!
- 12 baby portabello mushrooms
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. sea salt
- 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- ½ cup yellow onions chopped
- ½ cup green peppers chopped
- 1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary chopped
- 1 Tbsp. fresh sage chopped
- 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme chopped
- ¼ tsp. black pepper freshly ground
- 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- ¾ cup mozzarella cheese shredded
- 1 large large eggs
- Preheat your oven to 350 °F
- Remove and chop each of the stems from the portabella mushrooms. Set the stems aside.
- With a slightly damp cloth, lightly tap away any dirt on the surface of the mushrooms.
- Lightly brush each clean mushroom with olive oil using a soft bristle or silicone basting brush. Be sure to brush both sides.
- Transfer the mushrooms to a baking tray. Sprinkle sea salt into the hollow of each mushroom. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- In a small saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over low heat. Once melted, add the chopped onions and increase the heat to medium. Cook for three minutes.
- Add the chopped mushroom stems and green peppers. Stir to mix and coat with butter. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the rosemary, sage, thyme, and black pepper. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.
- Remove the saucepan from heat. Add the remaining butter and allow it to melt.
- Allow the onion, mushroom, pepper, and herb mixture to cool for about 10 minutes. Add the bread crumbs, mozzarella cheese, and egg to the sauce pot, stirring to combine.
- Once the stuffing and mushrooms are cool enough to touch, roll the stuffing into the size of golf balls. Place the stuffing ball into the hollow of a mushroom, lightly pressing down to smooth the surface. Repeat for the remaining mushrooms.
- Bake the stuffed mushrooms for 12 to 15 minutes, until the stuffing turns golden brown at the edges.
- Remove the mushrooms from the oven and serve hot.
Storage and Preparation Tips
For the best freshness, purchase mushrooms as close to the preparation time as possible. Mushrooms roughly have a 10-day shelf life once harvested. The longer they are stored, their freshness can quickly disappear. Once home, remove the plastic wrap from the packing to allow the mushrooms to breathe. This reduces moisture building, which can slow the rate of your mushrooms breaking down. Once stuffed, you can store mushrooms refrigerated in an air-tight container for up to five days, both baked and raw.
Can Stuffed Mushrooms be Frozen?
Stuffed mushrooms can be stored frozen for up to three months, whether raw or baked. I recommend freezing raw stuffed mushrooms, as cooked mushrooms can sometimes dry in the center when reheating from frozen. To freeze mushrooms:
- Lay them out in a single layer on a cookie sheet
- Cover the mushrooms with cling wrap or aluminum foil.
- Place the cookie sheet in a freezer for two to three hours.
- Once frozen solid, transfer the mushrooms to an air-tight container.
- Record the frozen-on date and use it within three months for the best flavor.
When ready to cook or reheat, fully thaw the mushrooms before baking. If cooking from frozen, stuffed mushrooms can bake unevenly, either burning the edges or not fully heated in the center—only thaw mushrooms in the fridge, and never at room temperature. Thawing at room temperature can lead to bacteria growth and potential food-borne illnesses.
Experiment Adding Meats!
Stuffed mushrooms offer room for creativity and experimentation with the flavors. Try adding beef, sausage, turkey, or even bacon to create your recipe! If adding meat to your stuffing, start to cook your meat first, and then proceed with the directions. Keep in mind that your meat and stuffing will continue to cook in the oven. Once out of the oven, check to ensure the middle of the mushroom has reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit before serving. I guarantee they will be a crowd pleaser and family favorite!