Thursday, October 17, 2013

Sausage Stuffed Portobellos from Make Ahead Paleo

After having an excellent experience with Tammy Credicott's Hunter's Chicken from Make Ahead Paleo, I couldn't wait to try out another recipe from the book.   Her Portobello Stuffed Mushrooms from the Make & Freeze chapter looked great in the book, but would they taste great in my kitchen?  Let's see!

I gathered my ingredients.  The recipe calls for Worcestershire Sauce.  I used my easy substitute of equal measures of coconut aminos and fish sauce.  The recipe also gives you the option of using all Italian sausage or half sausage half ground beef.  I with with the half and half option.

This recipe comes together really easily.  Before heating my 12 inch saute pan, I chopped up the green onions, bell pepper, and garlic.  Once I'd finished chopping, I added some coconut oil to the pan, let it heat, and then browned the meat.  While the meat browned, I sliced the olives.  Once the meat is brown, you basically add the rest of the ingredients and let it simmer for a bit.

Once I had everything in the pan, the aroma was that of pizza.  Yum.

While my stuffing simmered, I worked on removing the gills and stems of the mushrooms. Since there is only one of me, I decided to only stuff three mushrooms and reserve the rest of the stuffing.  

One of my mushrooms really did not want to give up it's gills.  I did the best I could without destroying the mushroom.  Admittedly, the night I went grocery shopping, I got the last 3 portobellos they had, so they might not have been the freshest.  

When the stuffing was done cooking, I removed it from the pan into a bowl and set a timer for 15 minutes to let it cool.  I turned my oven on to preheat when I set the timer for cooling.  Once cool, I carefully filled the hollow mushrooms with it and placed them in a glass baking dish.  My oven was ready to go at this point, so I put the baking dish into the oven and set at 20 minute timer.  

When the timer went off, I checked to make sure they were done, and then carefully plated a mushroom.  Here's my plate.  I garnished with a few sliced olives. 

Accessibility & Cost of Ingredients:  Instead of buying pork sausage, I bought some organic ground pork and mixed in some of the Italian Sausage Seasoning I had mixed up when I made Melissa Joulwan's Meatza.  Voila, Italian sausage.  I believe the pork cost me $8.99/pound.  This recipe also calls for Worcestershire Sauce.  I found a great paleo Worcestershire Sauce during my quest for condiments, but I've become comfortable with just using an equal measure of coconut aminos and fish sauce as a simple substitute.  

The recipe calls for stuffed olives.  Before going to the grocery store, I emailed Tammy and asked her what sort of stuffed olives and she said, "garlic, pimento, or whatever appeals to [me]."  I decided to go with pimento stuffed.  Make sure to check the ingredients list on the the olives that you choose as many unexpectedly have some chemical ingredients in them.  

Except for the coconut aminos, if you use my substitute suggestion, you should be able to find everything you need at your "big box" grocery store.  

Preparation & Cooking Time:   It took me about 20 minutes to prepare the filling and then I let it cool for 15 minutes before stuffing it into/onto my mushrooms.  This recipe is in the Make and Freeze chapter of the book.  You can cool the stuffing for 15 minutes and then finish making the recipe immediately like I did, or you could freeze the stuffing and thaw it out whenever you are ready to make the dish. The stuffing of the mushrooms took about 5 minutes.  I baked the stuffed mushrooms for 20 minutes.  If you make your own Italian Sausage seasoning and then mix it in, you'll need to add about 5 minutes to your time.  This gave me a grand total of 1 hour and 5 minutes.  

Clean Up:  Everything I used went into the dishwasher except my saute pan.  I used the 15 minutes of cooling time to clean up.  

The Paleo Review:  Two Thumbs High Up!  I have to confess that I could not wait for these mushrooms to finish in the oven.  I tasted a bit of my unused stuffing before the mushrooms were done. If this recipe was just the stuffing, I'd have found a new favorite.  This is the closest I've gotten to a substitute for pizza flavor.  Yum.  I loved the flavors of the Italian sausage and the salty tang of the olives in the dish.  Next time, I'll make it with all sausage and see if that flavor becomes overpowering. With the half and half mix I used, it the flavoring was perfect.  The stuffing by itself I think would be great in lettuce wrap or in a pure wrap.  Heck, it would be great as a main dish with any vegetable.  

When I tasted the finished dish, I had all the great flavor of the stuffing, with a little crunch where it had browned in the oven plus a meaty juicy mushroom.  

I do recommend eating the stuffed mushrooms on the same day you prepare them.  I tried reheating a mushroom the next day for lunch, and while the stuffing only improved after a night in the fridge, the flavor of the mushroom did not improve.  

I'm adding this recipe to my favorites recipe binder.  I've not seen where Tammy has shared this recipe anywhere, so you'll need to buy the book to enjoy it.