stuffed-mushrooms-1

Classics: Stuffed Mushrooms

These stuffed mushrooms are a perfect party canape. Classic, bordering on kitschy, but not all-the-way kitsch. The inclusion of Ritz crackers was, in my opinion, a bold choice. Ritz crackers remind me of my grandmother’s friend, Arlene. Did you ever have to accompany your grandma to a friend’s house? Like, if you were staying with her for the day while your mom was at school or work or actually you don’t know where, and she mentions that she had to stop by and visit a friend who’d been sick. Arlene lived in a vaguely ramshackle Gothic house with too many clocks and a German Shepherd. Your grandma’s house was weird but you were used to it. To the musty smells and rules about shoes and coasters. Your grandma’s friend’s house is weird and spooky with a squishy pink toilet seat that squeaks when you sit on it and she feeds you cottage cheese that tastes gross. And when you don’t eat the slimy curds she gives you a plate of Ritz crackers and sets you up at the Formica table with an old issue of Highlights and a pack of crayons that are not Crayola and you wonder if you’re supposed to color in the magazine, but don’t. Ritz crackers taste like old ladies you see once or twice in your whole life but who insist on kissing you anyway. They’re not a snack I personally keep in the pantry, but I like the idea of them as a staple of another generation. Open up a tin of oysters and a brown sleeve of buttery Ritz and party like it’s 1948. These mushrooms are so classic and can be made with or without sausage. The excess stuffing I baked in a little dish. I served these tonight with an herb salad, mixed olives and gin and tonics. Such a light and lovely summer supper on the back patio.

Stuffed Mushrooms

Ingredients:

  • 18-20 white button mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 8 oz Linguica Portuguese sausage, diced (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Parsley and lemon, for garnish

Method:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Arrange mushrooms in a baking pan and brush with olive oil. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onions, celery, and mushroom stems, about four minutes. Add garlic, season with salt, pepper, and paprika. Pour in the chicken stock and sherry; stir in crushed crackers. Stuff mushrooms with the filling (and Linguica, if using) and bake for 20-25 minutes. Garnish with parsley and give the mushrooms a squeeze of lemon before serving.

Our “Classics” series tackles some of our favorite dishes from Maine’s rich culinary tradition. You can think of them as “traditional” dishes, or more accurately, things you might have had for hot lunch in the fourth grade, had you attended St. George Elementary. To read more from this series, click here.

Comments

  1. Karen says

    Love your comments about Grandma’s house and going to see her friends. Reminds me of a time a long time ago now and my grandmother and her insistance on eating cottage cheese every day. To this day I can’t eat cottage cheese.. I wonder why!!!! Anyway, I copied the recipe for the stuffed mushrooms and will try them. But, here in the Midwest I can’t get Portuguese sausage. Can I substitute a Eastern European or German sausage? Thanks.

  2. Susan says

    my grandmother’s name wasn’t Arlene, but you just described her house to a t – including the German Shepard and the squish pink toilet seat!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>