These big beauties are the product of leftover cornbread stuffing from chicken night and a little ingenuity. And, MAN, are they tasty (and filling)!!
Every time we have chicken for dinner, we wind up with enough leftover meat for a whole second recipe later in the week, so I scrape the carcass clean and freeze the meat. However, we wind up with only enough stuffing left from the box mix to sit in our fridge looking dried-out until someone finally gives up and chucks it in the garbage.
These fancy little mushrooms give new life to that “not-enough-left-to-do-anything-with” stuffing. But don’t be fooled by the memories of stuffed mushrooms you might’ve encountered in the past on finger-food tables–these bad boys are a satisfying little meal in themselves! (And you’re probably going to want a fork and knife!)
Begin with a large (24-ounce) package of jumbo white mushrooms. (Other varieties and sizes work, too–I just like these ones and they go on sale pretty often at my local grocery store.)
Wash the mushrooms well (remember, they grow in poop!) and pat them dry. With a sharp knife, remove the stems from the caps, hollowing out as much of the cap as possible without accidentally ripping the mushroom in half–which
is easy to do when the mushrooms are raw and spongey. It’s okay if you bust a couple of them–just throw the broken caps back in the fridge to dress up a spinach salad later in the week!
You can save the stems if you’re feeling frugal, cut off the hard tips and chop them to use in the filling, but I don’t. They make good compost and the time it takes to prepare them is sometimes more valuable to me than the savings on a few usable molecules of mushroom stem I might’ve scrounged…but it’s a matter of personal choice. 🙂
In a large skillet, heat about 3 tablespoons of oil (any kind) over medium burner heat.
Add the mushroom caps, hollow-side-down and move them around with a wooden spoon until they begin to turn golden underneath. Flip the
caps onto their tops and continue to cook until entire mushrooms look partially sauteed. Remove from heat one-by-one and place on a paper towel to soak up excess oil.
While mushroom caps are cooling (there should be little to no oil left in the skillet by now), chop a celery rib or a couple of green onions into very fine pieces. Actually, pretty much any small piece(s) of vegetable will do for this recipe–you want some texture in your filling, and there may be a little pinch of something in
your crisper that’s about to go bad anyway. It doesn’t take much for this stuffing, and may prevent a little bit of waste in your kitchen. 🙂
Add 1/2 lb. bulk pork sausage to skillet and use your wooden spoon to break up meat into very small tidbits. You can also substitute texturized vegetable protein (TVP) for the meat, or use leftovers like breakfast sausage, ground beef, crumbled bacon, etc. instead of the bulk pork sausage.
Allow the sausage to cook about 2/3 of the way done before adding your leftover poultry stuffing. We usually have about 1-1/2 cups of leftover prepared stuffing mix (think Stovetop) after a chicken dinner. This is PLENTY for filling out the sausage mixture!
(Be sure to drain meat first if there is a surplus of grease, but a little grease is good for absorbing into the stuffing, which may have dried out a little in your fridge since the original meal it was cooked for!)
Incorporate the stuffing into the sausage in the skillet, sprinkle with garlic powder, and allow sausage to continue cooking until no longer pink anywhere. Remove skillet mixture from heat and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, spray a glass 9″x13″ baking dish with nonstick cooking oil and place mushroom caps upside-down in baking dish. Don’t crowd them
too much, since you’re topping them with cheese. You want each mushroom to be able to be removed by itself without dragging cheese off of the others around it.
Spoon stuffing mixture into mounds inside the hollow caps. Once all caps are filled, sprinkle about 1 cup mozzarella cheese over the mushrooms.
Bake uncovered at 375 for approximately 12-15 minutes, or until cheese is uniformly melted. Serve immediately or refrigerate leftovers.
Be sure to separate each mushroom from its “neighbors” cleanly before refrigerating–it will be much harder to do that after they’ve camped out in the fridge or been reheated!