Sunday, July 31, 2011

Dinner? Get Stuffed.

Apparently necessity is the mother of invention and today's recipe is the result of a 7.30 Tuesday night "what will we have for dinner" crisis. There was not a whole lot in the fridge to choose from and I was not inclined to go to the trouble of defrosting something from the freezer, so I decided to see if I could make something tasty with the bits and pieces we had. The ingredient that really leapt out at me were 6 beautiful large Portobello mushrooms, almost as big as rice bowls. They certainly looked like they should be containing something, so I took stock of the fridge and settled on a stuffing based on a small amount of left over minced chicken, herbs and  breadcrumbs.

The whole dish took just over half an hour from beginning to end, and the result was so delicious that I thought it warranted sharing with you all. The large mushrooms had a delicious rich flavour and the freshness of well seasoned, herbed stuffing was a great contrast to the earthiness of the mushrooms. I would not attempt this recipe with small, button mushrooms - it requires the strong flavour of the large tastier varieties to pull it off I think. Is it just me, or do those little button mushrooms taste like nothing?

You could easily adapt this recipe according to whatever you have around - other herbs, maybe some finely chopped spinach, bacon, pine nuts, a touch of lemon rind. You could also substitute the chicken mince for pork or beef. However you make it, be sure to season your stuffing mixture well and choose large, fresh and firm mushrooms.

Here they are......

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
with balsamic and olive oil

You will need: 6 large Portobello or field mushrooms, 1 cup raw minced chicken, 1/2 cup mozzerella cheese, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 tablespoon chopped continental parsley, 1 tablespoon thinly sliced spring onion, 1 tablespoon breadcrumbs, 1 heaped teaspoon Dijon mustard, about a teaspoon finely chopped fresh tarragon (thyme would work too),pinch of cayenne pepper, salt and pepper, olive oil and balsamic vinegar to serve.

Preheat your oven to 200C. Now, gently twist off and remove the stalks from the mushrooms. Chop them finely and place in a bowl with the chicken, mozzerella, garlic, parsley, spring onion, breadcrumbs, mustard and tarragon. Sesaon with a pinch of cayenne pepper and plenty of salt and pepper. Combine the mixture very well (using your hands is best for this)

Press a generous amount of the filling into each of the mushrooms. Place them on a baking tray and drizzle with a little olive oil. Cook for about 25 minutes. allow the mushrooms to rest for a few minutes before serving.

To serve, drizzle over the pan juices and some extra olive oil over the mushrooms and also add a few drops of balsamic vinegar to the plate. It combines with the juices from the mushrooms and the oil to make a delicious dressing.


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