Wednesday, February 13, 2013

stuffed mushrooms with bell pepper and peameal

I've shared my basic stuffed mushroom recipe before, and it's easily a favourite of mine. Impressive without being hard, meaty without having meat, and just flat out delicious. This time I decided to play around a bit, and I shocked myself by putting in some meat. When you just happen to have peameal bacon sitting in the fridge and a meat-loving husband what's a girl to to?

The peameal (which, if you're not from the Great White North you might know as Canadian bacon) can easily be replaced by regular bacon or even sausage if that's what you have on had, but it definitely works here. It gives that extra punch of heartiness and protein without being overpowering or overly noticable, and it certainly lends to the texture of the dish.

I used oversized stuffer mushrooms here, somewhere between 2 and 3 inches across. Serving wise, three apiece makes for a hearty appetizer or side dish. If you're doing a cocktail party these will be a hit. They've even gone over well as snack food for a man cave video game day, but you'll want to make extra for that. As far as the stuffing goes, there's no getting the amount exactly right. If you have too much left, either heap it on or save it for later, add more cheese, and stuff a chicken breast later on. Trust me. Or you can just eat it with a spoon. Which, while embarrassing, you won't regret.

Stuffed Mushrooms with Bell Pepper and Peameal

Ingredients
  • 9-10 oversized button mushrooms, or about 16 large ones
  • 1 small to medium bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced or crushed
  • 2 slices of peameal (Canadian) bacon, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, plus more to sprinkle
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp olive oil
Directions.
  1. Preheat oven to 350* F.
  2. Clean your mushrooms. You can either use a mushroom brush, or a paper towel to lightly wipe them down. Getting them wet isn't good, but a little bit of damp won't hurt them.
  3. Remove the stems and hollow out the mushroom caps. Trim or tear away and small bits of mushroom flesh that are getting in the way of stuffing space. With the stems, cut off the woody end bit and discard. Finely chop the remainder of the stem and use for your stuffing.
  4. Arrange the mushroom caps on a baking tray and add a light sprinkling of salt.
  5. In a small saute pan over medium heat, saute the bacon until cooked through. Stir vigourously to make sure your dice has left you with lots of itty bits of bacon rather than a few big bites. Once the outsides begin to take on a brown colour remove from the pan and set aside for later.
  6. Heat the oil in the pan. Once it's sizzling, add the mushrooms and saute until they shrink in size and start to take on a deeper (less white) colour, about 3-5 minutes. They'll start to smell really hearty when they're ready, but more than anything you're looking for a colour and size change.
  7. Mix the bell pepper into the mushrooms and saute another 2-3 minutes, until the pepper begins to soften. The colour will get a little bit less bright as this happens.
  8. Add the bacon back to the pan and stir until you have an even mix of all three ingredients. Sprinkle your breadcrumbs and Italian seasoning overtop and stir until the breadcrumbs absorb most of the moisture in the pan, about a minute. Add your cheese and stir quickly to incorporate. With the cheese this starts to come together in clumpy bits and you're about done.
  9. Remove your mix from the saute pan to a small mixing bowl. If you're like me you may be touching things with bare hands at this point, and that's just safer.
  10. Using your hands or a small spoon, stuff your mushrooms. Fill the caps and press down so the filling is tightly packed. If you have a large amount of filling, don't be afaid of overstuffing your shrooms, just make sure you press the stuffing fairly tightly together.
  11. Sprinkle with more parmesan. This will bubble and sizzle and be delicious.
  12. Bake for about 20-15 minutes, until bubbly and brown. The mushrooms will release some of their juices in the oven and just be oozy and wonderful.
  13. Let them cool for a few minutes. Eat them.

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