Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving dish? It’s probably stuffing, or mashed potatoes, or maybe sweet potatoes right? Well, my bold statement for the day is that one of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes comes before the meal even happens. That’s right – these stuffed mushrooms rank at the top of my list, even among classics like cider-glazed sweet potatoes and the best cranberry relish. It’s tough competition, but these little guys are up to the job. They’re stuffed with a combination of artichokes, parmesan cheese, and sausage, and spiced with sage and lemon zest, so you know you’re biting into the perfect fall appetizer.
Speaking of fall. It took a while, but the leaves have finally turned and started to fall here in Chicago. The weather is still mild, though, and I’ve become quite attached to my weekend walks along the lake. I love seeing how different Lake Michigan can be. Last week, it was windy and the lake had waves like an ocean. Today, it was smooth as glass, and glittering with sunshine. Sometimes I use the time to think up new recipes. Other times, I’ll be completely entranced in whatever podcast I’m listening to (Hidden Brain, Freakonomics Radio, How I Built This, and Gilmore Guys are on consistently on rotation). Just check out this gorgeousness – amazing how a little sunshine and less wind changes the entire view.
Since you’re almost definitely not here to hear me talk about the weather or what podcast I’m currently listening to, let’s get back to these mushrooms, shall we? I used mini portobello mushrooms for bite-sized appetizers. Probably the hardest ingredient to find is “artichoke bottoms”. They should come in a can just like regular artichoke hearts, but for some reason they don’t seem to be stocked at all grocery stores. If you can’t find them, feel free to substitute canned artichoke hearts. Otherwise the ingredients are pretty straightforward. You could use turkey sausage or regular sausage – whatever you find and like.
Parmesan cheese and just a few tablespoons of milk act as the binding agents, but even so, I do find these best eaten with a fork and knife – they tend to be a little messy otherwise! This recipe is one my mom dreamed up as an appetizer, but I was happy bringing a couple of these for lunch. Also, as a bonus, if you’re not feeding a huge crowd, you can turn any leftover stuffing into dinner by roasting an acorn squash and filling it up with this delicious mixture! Whether you follow our tradition and have these as an afternoon snack before Thanksgiving dinner, or just make them for yourself, I think you’ll find these stuffed mushrooms just might become one of your favorites as well.
Artichoke and Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms
Time: 30 minutes
Yield: ~10 Stuffed Mushrooms
1-2 8-oz packages mini portobello mushrooms (I found one package had ~10 mushrooms)
1 lb sausage (mild pork sausage, sausage w/ sage, or turkey sausage all work)
1 teaspoon dried sage
~1 tablespoon lemon zest (zest of 1 lemon)
1 can artichoke bottoms
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2-3 tablespoons of milk
Salt and pepper, to taste
Parsley, chopped for garnish if desired
Line a sheet pan with foil. Remove stems and gills of portobello mushrooms by scooping out with a small spoon. Wash mushrooms by rubbing with a damp towel and place on prepared sheet pan. Brown the sausage in a large skillet over medium heat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon or spatula while it cooks. While the sausage is cooking, chop up the artichoke hearts.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Once the sausage is cooked through, add dried sage, lemon zest, chopped artichokes, cheese, and bread crumbs, and stir until heated and and the cheese starts to melt. Add the milk, starting with 1-2 tablespoons – you just want the mixture to look a little more wet so that it starts to come together. Taste the mixture and add salt or pepper if desired.
Use a small cookie scoop or two spoons to fill each mushroom with stuffing. Fill as many mushrooms as you want to make, and refrigerate any leftover stuffing (if you don’t want leftover stuffing, you should have enough to fill ~20 mushrooms). Bake the mushrooms for 10 minutes, until they look soft and the topping starts to brown. Top with chopped parsley for garnish, if desired.