Savoring the Holiday Season

Whether it’s getting your hands dirty with the cooking prep or mingling with guests over a stuffed mushroom bite, the kitchen is the prime hangout for any holiday event.

It’s the smell of cinnamon coming from the stove and brie and cranberries melting together right out of the oven that drives us to linger the kitchen for conversation and that first bite of the evening’s menu.

The main entrée often receives the majority of attention, but the holidays are when finger foods have their moment in the spotlight, too. Mushrooms are always ready to start a party on a delicious note with a nosh of bruschetta or a skewered meatball.

Mushroom Pine Nut Pinwheels

Using ingredients like frozen puff pastry dough is a great way to save time, so that you can focus on flavorful mushroom fillings.

Crimini and Pork Meatballs

Please your meat and veggie lovers with swapability meatballs that replace a portion of pork with crimini mushrooms. Even the kids will be swiping more than one of these.

Check out more festive mushroom finger foods that on Facebook and get inspired with our Stuffed Mushroom Mania Pinterest board.

Brie and Cranberry-Stuffed Mushroom Bites

Shaina from Food for My Family plans ahead for Thanksgiving with a stuffed mushroom appetizer that’s a tasty preview of the feast ahead.

My family gathers for Thanksgiving dinner each year, with aunts and uncles and cousins converging on the same house, each bearing gifts of food and stories of the summer. Appetizers are set out as the turkey continues to roast, the au gratin potatoes crust over, the green bean casserole bakes. Football fills the screen, and children play on the floor, setting up wooden train tracks and enjoying the company of long-lost cousins. We all linger a bit longer at the table, not rushing through the meal.

Alongside the shrimp dip and the crackers and cheese spread, these mushrooms find a cozy little space. Stuffed mushrooms are always a popular item on the appetizer table and the cranberries are easy to come by, too. Just swipe a few from the sauce you’re serving alongside the turkey, and they will serve as a reminder of what’s to come.

Brie and Cranberry-Stuffed Mushrooms

Serves 12 -18

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 12-18 baby portabella mushrooms, washed and stems removed
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons cranberry sauce
  • 2-3 ounces brie, rind removed
  • 1 tablespoon minced rosemary

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F. Melt the butter in a sauté pan. Add the mushroom caps to the butter and cook for 1 minute on each side, over medium heat. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and place in a pie plate or small baking dish, stem side up.
  2. Add the shallots to the pan. Cook until they start to caramelize, about 5-7 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for one minute more. Spoon the garlic and shallots into the mushroom caps. Add a half teaspoon to each of the caps as well. Cut the brie into small cubes. Place one cube in each mushroom cap. Sprinkle rosemary over the top.
  3. Bake for 5-10 minutes, until brie is bubbly and the mushrooms are cooked through. Remove from oven, serve warm.

Sherried Mushrooms and Chorizo with Fried Eggs

Stacie Billis of One Hungry Mama shares a recipe for sherried mushrooms that will transform how you look at the humble fried egg.

Sherried mushrooms are one of my favorite ways to enjoy mushrooms. Charged with garlic and spiked with a splash of warm sherry, the combination turns a simple sautéed vegetable into a luxurious layer for serving over toast, under meat or cuddled around noodles.

Sherried mushrooms also pair well with a gently fried egg with a golden liquid yolk. It’s a great Meatless Monday combo. Though, the last time I made it was on a Tuesday, so I thought: Why not throw in some chorizo?!

Fresh chorizo*gives sherried mushrooms a super Spanish flair and the same big flavor you’d expect from a tapas joint in Barcelona. And it’s easy, too! In fact, this simple yet sophisticated meal can be on the table in barely 30 minutes.

* There are two kinds of chorizo: fresh and dried. The dried kind is cured and has a hard texture like salami. The fresh kind, on the other hand, is raw and soft, usually sold in casing. This recipe calls for the latter.

 

Sherried Mushrooms and Chorizo with Fried Eggs

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, plus more as necessary
  • 1 lb fresh chorizo
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 12 ounces (3/4 lb) fresh, mushrooms, mixed or cremini, sliced ¼” thick
  • ¼ cup dry sherry
  • ¼ cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)
  • Butter, for frying eggs
  • 4-8 large eggs, depending on how many eggs you want to serve per person
  • Crusty toast brushed with butter or olive oil, for serving (optional)

Directions:

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Remove chorizo from casing and add to pan, using a wooden spoon break the meat into small pieces. Fry sausage until cooked through with some crispy bits. Using a slotted spoon, remove sausage from pan, leaving the rendered pork fat in the pan; return pan to heat.

2. Add garlic to pan and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and toss to coat with garlic and oil. (The sausage should have let off enough fat to carry you through to this point. If it hasn’t or the fat has cooked off, add a drizzle of olive oil either before adding the garlic and/or before adding the mushrooms.) Cook for another 2 minutes before adding sherry. Sauté until nearly all of the sherry has cooked off.

3. Return sausage to pan and stir to incorporate well. Add broth and butter. Season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking until a sauce forms and coats the mushrooms well. The sauce should be thin, but not watery. Turn off the heat and toss in some chopped parsley. Transfer mixture to a serving bowl and set aside.

4. Wipe out the pan and use it to melt butter over medium-high heat. You need just enough to cover the bottom of the pan each time you fry a batch of eggs. Crack eggs in pan and fry over easy. Cook as many eggs as fit in your pan, being careful not to overcrowd them. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Scoop one serving of mushrooms and chorizo onto a plate. Top with 1-2 fried eggs and serve warm. If you like, you can layer a piece of crusty toast under the mushrooms and chorizo.

 

Burger Option: Go Protein-Style with Portabella Mushrooms

Jessica from LifeAsMOM showcases how you can find healthy dining ideas while eating out and even bring some of the inspiration to your own kitchen table.

Late this summer, my husband and I decided to change our diets. We were both carrying a little extra something around the middle and feeling lethargic and well… puffy. At the beginning of August, we both downloaded a free calorie-tracking app and started paying more attention to what we ate.

Boy, was that eye opening! We had no idea that some of our favorite meals were so laden with sodium, fat, and calories. Yes, our bodies need sodium and healthy fats, but what we realized is that our regular diet was overloaded with both.

After a painful first week, we started to get in a groove. We found which foods were the most satisfying and how we could eat well, feel satisfied, and not overindulge in terms of calorie intake.

One of the things that changed was our eating out. No longer did our favorite fried chicken restaurant fit the bill. And my favorite burger joint with bottomless fries? Yeah, that had to go as well.

Luckily one of our go-to places for a quick and inexpensive meal, In-N-Out Burger offered the option of preparing our burgers “protein style.” Instead of a bun, they wrap our burgers in large leaves of lettuce. Our youngest son, clearly not on a diet, actually prefers his burgers this way. Protein-style is a favorite around here.

And it’s an easy one to recreate at home. It’s even tastier when you replace the bun with a grilled portabella mushrooms. I marinated mine before grilling and the flavor was fantastic. If you prefer to go meatless, just skip the ground beef and seasoning salt. It’s a fork supper, for sure, but definitely a health-conscious way to have your burger and eat it, too.

Portabella Cheeseburger Protein Style

Portabella Cheeseburger Protein Style

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 portabella caps, cleaned and trimmed
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • Favorite seasoning salt
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, sliced into rings
  • 2 slices cheddar cheese
  • Sliced tomato, lettuce leaves, other condiments

Directions:

  1. In a one quart Ziploc bag, combine the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Add the mushrooms and marinate for 15 to 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, divide the beef into two portions and form each into a patty. Season to taste with seasoning salt. Set aside and preheat the grill.
  3. In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil until simmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring for 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Grill the burger patties and mushrooms over hot grill until the meat is cooked through and reaches an internal temperature of 160º and mushrooms are tender, about 10 minutes. During the last minute or two of cooking, lay the cheese slices atop the burgers to allow them time to melt. If you’re going meatless, you can melt the cheese over the mushrooms.
  5. On each plate, layer one mushroom, burger, cheese, and sautéed onions. Serve with tomato, lettuce, and other condiments.

 

Signature Mushroom Recipe Competition

Swapability is not just for use at home, chefs enjoy swapping mushrooms into their restaurant dishes as well. Council Representative, Bart Minor, shares his experience going behind the scenes at the first Signature Mushroom Recipe Competition.

Signature Recipe Competition Winner
 

The Mushroom Council was proud to sponsor the first “Signature Mushroom Recipe Competition” in Orlando, Florida on September 24th. Similar to challenges from hit shows like Iron Chef and Top Chef, competitors were faced with the task of preparing a dish that showcased mushroom swapability, the process of using mushrooms to extend the protein and enhance the flavor of a dish.

Nineteen chefs were invited to compete onsite at the Restaurant and Lodging Show. Competitors were given two hours to create a mushroom swapability dish, after which, the dishes were presented to three judges – Chef Louis Perrotte CEC, AAC, Chef Roland Schaeffer CEC, AAC, and Chef David St. John-Grubb Ph.D. CEC, CCE, CHE, AAC, while Chef Hiroshi Noguchi CEC, AAC covered the floor judging.  The first place winner received $1000 in cash, while second place received $750, and third place received $500.

Competitors were very receptive to the idea of swapability, and a few chefs noted they even use it on a regular basis in their restaurants. While others like the idea of swapability, they would not use it in a ground meat application (they prefer to use less protein while increasing the perceived portion size with mushrooms – sautéed, roasted, or grilled). Here are some of the comments the chefs had regarding swapability.

Chef Deborah Buza | Salvation Army – Grant, FL
Recipe: Portabella Roulade with Mushroom Sauce, served with Almond Crusted Potato Gratin Cake, Mushroom Timbale with Tomato Compote and Garnished with Sautéed Mushroom Cap
“What I like most about cooking with mushrooms is all the flavors and the versatility – you can use them as a main dish, a garnish, and a component. I prefer to use portabella as they offer so many cooking options – you can grill, roast, bake, sauté. Mushroom swapability enhances the flavor of the protein – it adds that extra flavor.”

Portabella Roulade with Mushroom Sauce by Chef Deborah

Chef Jenelle Buza | Ritz Carlton Naples – Naples, FL
Recipe: Shiitake, Oyster & Maitake Mushroom Agnolottis on Tomato Compote with Mushroom Sauce
“I enjoy cooking with mushrooms because of the depth of flavor they add to any dish. You want to be able to hit every spot on the flavor spectrum – sweet, salty, sour – to create that umami effect. I like the idea of swapability as long as you cook the mushrooms properly. You have to know the technique to execute it properly; there is nothing worse than a recipe that is soggy because the water was not sweated out before combining.”

Shiitake, Oyster & Maitake Mushroom Agnolottis by Chef Janelle Buza

Chef Erick Rodriguez | Universidad de Guayaquil – Ecuador
Recipe: Mushroom Puree with Stuffed Ravioli and Sautéed Asparagus
“I like the flavors and versatility of preparation in the kitchen – you can sauté, roast, grill. I like white button mushrooms and often use them in my entrees.”

Mushroom Puree with Stuffed Ravioli and Sautéed Asparagus by Erick Rodriguez

Chef Sally Wilson | Johnson County Community College – Overland Park, KS
Recipe: Sautéed Mushroom Strudel, Pheasant Breast with Mushroom Sausage, Butternut Squash Puree with Goat Cheese, Glazed Broccoli Rabe with Batonnet of Carrots, Pheasant Ragout with Figs and Olives

“What I enjoy most about cooking with mushrooms is the many ways you can use them. You can do anything with them and incorporate them into any dish. I really enjoy cooking with crimini mushrooms and lobster mushrooms – they add such a nice flavor and are really colorful.

Sautéed Mushroom Strudel, Pheasant Breast with Mushroom Sausage by Chef Sally Wilson
 

Despite all of the delicious and creative preparations, in the end, there could only be three winners. Congratulations to our top three competitors:

1st Place Winner: Chef Deborah Buza
2nd Place Winner: Chef Jenelle Buza
3rd Place Winner: Chef Erick Rodriquez

Thanks to all of the chefs who participated in this fun and landmark event for The Mushroom Council.

Would you order a mushroom swapability dish on a restaurant menu?