22 May 2012

Cotija and Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms

I had never cooked much with cojita until we made fish tacos last week.  After buying a wheel of it, I have found that it is an awesomely fun cheese to work with.  Extremely dry and crumbly, it's like an extra-salty version of feta.  Great taste, keeps its shape and really jazzes up a dish.  It's been great to play with.

Though it is not your traditional melting cheese, I thought it would be fun to try in a stuffed mushroom.  Though I enjoy a gooey mushroom, I typically prefer using a cheese that maintains its structural (and flavorful) integrity.  And happily, this cheese totally does.  It is so salty, I didn't add any additional salt at all.  The flavory profile of these babies is all mushroom and spinach up front with a cotija finish.  Pretty excellent, if I do say so myself.

This side dish took a total of 10 minutes to prep and 12 minutes to cook.  So fast, so easy, so good.  We enjoyed ours with simple grilled chicken breast over fresh spinach, homemade guacamole and chips.  Depending on the size of your mushrooms, you may have a bit extra stuffing....which was excellent sprinkled over the chicken.

See?  Never waste food!  But back to the mushrooms.....

Quick, healthy and delicious side dish.  Next time, they're going on the grill.....

Cotija and Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms
  • 12 mushrooms
  • 2 tbs onion, finely minced
  • 1/2 tsp garlic, finely minced
  • 2 c spinach, chopped
  • black pepper
  • red chili flakes (if desired)
  • 4 tbs cotija cheese
Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees and set a medium skillet over medium heat.  

Clean and stem your mushrooms.  To clean, wipe down with a slightly damp paper towel...never submerge them in water!  Chop off the ends of the stems and discard.  Pull out the remainder of the stems and chop into small pieces.  Place in a small bowl and set aside.  Chop the spinach and add to the mushrooms.

When nice and hot, remove skillet from heat and spray with non-stick.  Add the onion and garlic and cook for about a minute.  Add the chopped mushrooms and spinach.  Season with pepper and chili flakes (if desired) and cook, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes, until spinach has just wilted.  Remove pan from heat and transfer cooked spinach mixture back to your small bowl.  Add the cotija cheese and mix well.

Fill your mushrooms with the spinach cotija mixture, overstuffing slightly.  Spray a 8x8 baking pan with non-stick and place the mushrooms inside, stuffing side up.  Roast in oven for 12 minutes, until mushrooms are cooked and soft when gently squeezed.  I had some cherry tomatoes, so those roasted along with the mushrooms.  Serve hot or save for later and munch at room temp.  Both ways are delish!

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