21 November 2012

Spinach & Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms

Have you ever had a roasted mushroom?  If the answer to that question is no, stop reading right now and go eat a dozen or so.  I say dozen for it you attempt to stop after only one or two, you will find that it is a human impossibility.  This is the amazingness that is a roasted mushroom.  Warm, meaty, bafflingly juicy and oh so flavorful, these feble words cannot do them justice.  So what I lack in vocabulary, I make up in stuffing.  Man, can I stuff.  Hence, stuffed & roasted mushrooms.

Now most people tend to favor sausage with their stuffed mushrooms.  Here, I swap out one breakfast meat for another - bacon.  And not just any bacon, but thick cut peppered bacon.  Oh yes.  We are peppered loyalists.  Now if you are a follower of the smoked variety, by all means honor your taste buds and go with that.  But for you maple lovers out there, I highly recommend that you go with your second favorite.  The sweetness would almost detract from the other fabulous flavors going on here, and these mushrooms are too good for that.

Speaking of fabulous flavors, let's discuss them a bit!  In addition to the juicy, chewy mushrooms and crispy, salty bacon we have some delicious Edam cheese.  This Dutch cheese is very similar to Red Wax Gouda, with a mild salty flavor and subtle nose.  It is very young as cheeses go, and aged for less than a year.  It's the baby Gouda, with a subtler flavor and lighter color, making it perfect for a filling such as this.  It adds just a hint of flavor, but not so much that it overpowers the mushrooms and bacon. A wonderful melter, there is no need for any extra binder such as eggs in the filling.  Just add a bit of garlic and pepper, and you're good to go.

To finish off the filling and cut a bit of the saltiness, I like to use a bit of spinach as well as the mushroom stems.  For the life of me, I don't know why so many people throw away perfectly delicious pieces of mushroom.  It may not be as pretty as the top, but it taste just as good.  So eat them, I say!  A quick mince is all that's needed to prep them for the filling.  Plus, you're increasing your vegetable consumption....always a good thing.  

I'm ready for more mushrooms........

Spinach Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms

  • 2 slices bacon (we like peppered)
  • 12-14 mushrooms
  • 1 c fresh spinach
  • 3/4 c grated Edam or Red Wax Gouda (or other good melting cheese)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • fresh cracked pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and spray a baking sheet with non-stick.  Clean the mushrooms by gently wiping with a damp paper towel.  Remove the stems and set aside for the filling.  Place the cleaned mushrooms top down on the baking sheet and sprinkle with fresh grated pepper.  Place in the heated oven and roast for 5 minutes, until mushrooms are very tender.  Remove tray from oven and set on a heat safe cutting board.  We'll stuff them and return them to the oven later.

Chop the bacon and transfer to a small skillet.  Place the skillet on a burner and turn heat to medium, allowing the pan to heat while the bacon is already in the skillet.  Cook for 8-10 minutes, until bacon is crispy and browned.  Remove from the skillet with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel lined plate to drain.  

Chop the mushroom stems and spinach.  Transfer to a small bowl and add the grated cheese, garlic and cooked bacon.  Stir together until well combined, seasoning with more fresh cracked pepper to taste. 

Discard the oil in the small pan and wipe with a paper towel.  Set the pan back on the burner and add the chopped mushrooms and spinach.  Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, until spinach is bright green, then transfer into the small bowl with the bacon and cheese.  Mix together well. 

Fill each mushroom with as much filling as possible (the exact amount will depend on the size of your mushrooms).  Place back in the heated oven and cook for an additional 6-8 minutes, until cheese is melted and starting to turn golden.  Serve hot.

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