So we are are officially in what is perhaps the favorite time of year in our house: football season. Auburn football. Tailgating. And of course, family College Football Pick ‘Em (allow me to brag for a minute and say that I have won the past two years…the pressure is on). I also have the goal this year of upping my game as far as football food goes. I want things that a crowd can snack on and main dishes that are easy to make/can be made ahead of time. And of course, it needs to have that fall feeling that certain foods just do (I’m looking at you, oven ribs). I want things that are comfortable and easy, both appetizers and dinners.
And I say all this acting like I hold regular football viewing parties, which really is not the case. I am too intense about my football to host football viewing parties. And the truth is that when winter rolls around and the biggest reason for football parties comes on (the Super Bowl), I really couldn’t care less. I don’t even think I’ve turned in on in the last couple of years. (In case you haven’t noticed, I am not a professional football fan.)
But, we do occasionally have my family over to watch Auburn games (or go to their house with food in hand). I even sometimes have had friends over for games, as long as it is low key and they are as in to the game as I am. But I don’t have time to be the perfect hostess during football season, and so when I make food, I need it as easy as possible.
And these mushrooms are a great example. They aren’t exactly quick and easy to make, but they can be made COMPLETELY AHEAD OF TIME. I’ve loved these for a while, and I most recently made them for a friend’s bridal shower (she specially requested them). I made them the night before: I cleaned the mushrooms, cooked the stuffing, stuffed the mushrooms, and then put them in my fridge. The next day they just needed a drizzle of olive oil before going into the oven, and then they were ready. Which is just about as easy as you can get the day of a party.
Sausage stuffed mushrooms are my absolute favorite party appetizer. And they are always a hit. It is rare that I make these and have any leftover. By the way, you can use whatever sausage you want here. I prefer mild, but if you'd like to use Italian to make it a bit spicier, that will work, too.
- 2 lb. white mushrooms (about 50)
- Olive oil
- 1 lb. regular sausage
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 4 oz. cream cheese
- 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (or 1 tablespoon dried parsley)
- Kosher salt
- Prepare the mushrooms by wiping them off with a damp paper towel and then snapping the stems out of the center of them so that there is room to stuff the inside of the mushroom caps. Finely chop half of the mushroom stems, and then set aside both the chopped stems and the caps for later.
- Add about 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage to brown, stirring often with a spatula or wooden spoon. As the sausage begins to brown add the chopped mushroom stems. When the sausage is almost completely browned, add the garlic, cooking for 1-2 more minutes. Then add the wine, using a spoon to scrape the brown bits off from the bottom of the pan. Continue to cook until most of the wine has cooked down (there will still be some liquid in the pan though).
- Add the cream cheese and cook, stirring often, until the cheese is melted. Then transfer the entire mixture to a large bowl.
- Stir in the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, parsley, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of pepper. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if needed.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Spread the mushrooms out evenly in a baking dish, cap side down, hollow center side up. Drizzle the mushrooms with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Stuff a small amount of the sausage mixture into the cap of each mushroom. They should be overflowing slightly, but not so much that there is sausage in danger of falling out of the mushroom. (This is the point where you can refrigerate the dish until you are ready to bake it if you are making this ahead of time.)
- Drizzle the stuffed mushrooms lightly with olive oil. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender. Serve warm.
adapted from The Neelys