Merry (belated) Christmas, everyone! I hope you all had a good holiday. Ours was great, now I'm just trying to make room for all the toys and such my kids got from my very generous family. I need some serious toy organization in my house!! It was a fun day. Christmas gets more fun each year as my boys get older and get more excited about it. Well, really the older one is the only one that gets it, the baby just knew there was a big tree in the living room with a gate around it so he wouldn't touch it. ;)
Our Christmas Eve celebration consisted of church, take-out Chinese food, and then "snow" at a local outdoor mall. Next year we need to hit the "snow" earlier in the Christmas season because seeing "snow" and all the Christmas decorations really got me in the Christmas spirit.
Anyway, for Christmas dinner we went to my mom's house. Normally we have a big fancy dinner, but we had decided this year to just have an appetizer buffet like we do for a lot of birthday celebrations in our family. I have to say I liked it a lot better! Not that our dinner isn't usually good--it's usually VERY good--but it was nice to just have it all ready and my mom and whomever not have to rush around to get everything served while also opening presents. It was quite the feast! My mom made chicken wings, coconut shrimp, Lil' Smokies, bacon wrapped scallops, pepperoni bread...I think that was it. My contributions were stuffed mushrooms, baked brie, a Rick Bayless queso recipe, and a cheeseball. Although my mom said why didn't we skip the cheeseball because we had so much other stuff, so that bad boy is still in my freezer for another time. And I ended up making the queso the next night as we had another family dinner then.
I've kind of fallen behind in following the Barefoot Bloggers recipes lately. I don't remember what Novembers were. The first one for December was a croissant bread pudding which sounded awesome, but it made a lot, and I just didn't need to sit here and eat an entire 9x13 pan of bread pudding by myself. When I saw that this was the second one for the month I figured it would be perfect to make for our Christmas "Dinner" Appetizer Fest.
Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms
2009, Ina Garten, All Rights Reserved
16 extra-large white mushrooms
5 tablespoons good olive oil, divided
2 1/2 tablespoons Marsala wine or medium sherry
3/4 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from the casings
6 scallions, white and green parts, minced
2 garlic cloves minced
2/3 cup panko crumbs
5 ounces mascarpone cheese, preferably from Italy
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Remove the stems from the mushrooms and chop them finely. Set aside. Place the mushroom caps in a shallow bowl and toss with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and Marsala. Set aside.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage, crumbling it with the back of a wooden spoon. Cook the sausage for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until it's completely browned. Add the chopped mushroom stems and cook for 3 more minutes. Stir in the scallions and garlic and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the panko crumbs, stirring to combine evenly with all the other ingredients. Finally, swirl in the mascarpone and continue cooking until the mascarpone has melted and made the sausage mixture creamy. Off the heat, stir in the Parmesan, parsley, and season with salt and pepper, to taste, Cool slightly.
Fill each mushroom generously with the sausage mixture. Arrange the mushrooms in a baking dish large enough to hold all the mushrooms in a snug single layer. Bake until the stuffing for 50 minutes, until the stuffing is browned and crusty.
The only thing I changed about the ingredients were to use regular Italian sausage instead of sweet, and I used a full pound since I used more than 16 mushrooms. I didn't realize how hot my mom's stove got, so a little bit of the sausage was slightly over-cooked because I was trying to get other things done while it was cooking. It was really a small amount and didn't make a difference in the taste at all.
These were a huge hit!! I was eating the stuffing mixture straight out of the pan, I thought it was so good. I changed the cooking time a bit, too. Everything else that was going in the oven was at 400, so I had them in there for probably 20 minutes. Plus 50 minutes seemed like a really long time since all the ingredients were already cooked. If the sausage hadn't been cooked I could see 50 minutes, but that sounded too long.
I would definitely make these again for a party or if I need to take an appetizer somewhere...or if I have all the stuff on hand and they just sound good to me. ;) It came together really easily and tasted awesome!! I even had one cold the next day and thought that was good, too.