Hobbit Week: Stuffed and Roasted Mushrooms
No hobbit meal is complete without a mushroom dish. These stuffed, roasted mushrooms make a great main course for nights when you’re too tired from adventuring to make a rack of lamb or roast a chicken.
In middle class Victorian households, stuffed vegetables were a way to make a meal look a little fancy while also being economical. Instead of a pauper’s dinner, all it took as a little creativity to turn leftover sausage from breakfast, last night’s bread crusts, and a few herbs into an elegant meal.
These days, vegans or vegetarians can still reuse last night’s scraps, but substitute vegan sausage crumbles for leftover ground meat for an equally good meal that’s still easy to throw together for a fast weeknight supper.
Stuffed and Roasted Mushrooms
4 large Portabella mushroom caps
1/2 tbsp butter or olive oil
1 c / 200 g home made Country Sausage (pg 15) or vegan sausage crumbles
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried herbs (rosemary or basil)
½ tsp fresh ground pepper
1 egg, beaten (optional for vegans)
1 1/2 c / 270 g dried breadcrumbs + 4 tbsp reserved (substitute ground cornflakes if gluten free)
½ c shredded mozzarella cheese (optional for vegans)
Gently wash the mushroom caps and remove any remaining bits of stem. Let them sit out on a rack to dry while you brown the sausage.
Melt ½ tbsp of butter or oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook your breakfast sausage until browned through. Once fully browned, add it to a mixing bowl. In the same skillet, add your diced onion, minced garlic, dried herbs, salt, and pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the onion is translucent and the garlic starts to brown. Add it to the mixing bowl full of sausage.
[If using vegan crumbles, double the oil and cook until they’re barely browned. Meat substitutes are naturally fat free and will burn if you glare at them too hard. They’re also fully cooked, and so only need to be heated through. Don’t overcook them or they’ll dry into hard, nasty rocks instead of chewy, tender, protein.]
Once the mix is cool enough to touch, add the beaten egg. Use your hands to knead the sausage, vegetables, and herbs together with the egg binder. Once they’re all mixed, add all but 4 tbsp of breadcrumbs and keep mixing until the crumbs have soaked up a lot of the moisture.
Divide the mix into four parts. Gently press each one into a mushroom cap, taking care not to split the mushroom.
Sprinkle each mushroom with 1 tbsp of reserved breadcrumbs. If you’d like, you can also add a couple tablespoons of shredded cheese if none of your guests are vegan or lactose intolerant.
Bake at 350F / 180C for 15 minutes-18 minutes. Let cool slightly before eating.
If you’re hosting a fancy meal, serve one of these alongside a single chop from your roast rack of lamb so everyone feels like they had a hearty, somewhat grand main course. You’ll save money while also looking quite fancy.
For a more modest Shire inspired meal, serve your working class stuffed mushrooms alongside mashed potatoes, green peas cooked with rosemary, and a hunk of fresh bread for a solid, filling, home cooked meal.
Need more Hobbity goodness in your life?
Preview even more recipes from An Unexpected Cookbook: The Unofficial Book of Hobbit Cookery, available now!
Sample recipes from all seven chapters of An Unexpected Cookbook:
Breakfast – Poached Pears Stuffed with Frumenty
Second Breakfast – Beef and Mushroom Stuffed Hand Pies
Elevenses – Shire Seed Cake
Luncheon – Stewed Hare with Root Vegetables and Dumplings
Afternoon Tea – Shortbread
Supper – Stuffed Roasted Mushrooms
Dinner – Boxty on the Griddle with Bacon
Need more? Get your own copy of An Unexpected Cookbook: The Unofficial Book of Hobbit Cookery from Amazon.com.
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