This recipe is actually from awhile ago, but I thought of it today on the train ride home as I was drifting off for a short nap with Gabrielle Hamilton’s Blood, Bones, and Butter in my clutch. Not because it was boring by any means, she is a great writer and her stories are somehow more outlandish given that they are true. She is a deeply determined chef who builds a great restaurant from nothing, earns an MFA, marries an Italian professor…well, I am vastly oversimplifying this incredible person’s experiences and abilities, but I meant to say that the memoir would never lull me to sleep. I was exhausted and pretty hungry. Perhaps it was my meager lunch of lentil soup that a co-worker described as “cat-food mixed with that gravy stuff”; or it could have been the fact that I was reading a book about food by the owner of Prune, but I longed for something comfy and homemade…that I could eat soon.
Stuffed mushrooms are an indulgence relatively easy to make, customizable, and universally adored. Usually we reserve such appetizers for company, but with this particular recipe found on smittenkitchen I had the key to some delicious finger food. Reluctantly, I cut the recipe to about a quarter of the amount. Forty-eight mushrooms stuffed with cheese and bacon sitting in my fridge would have just been a glorious mistake.
Roasted Mushrooms Stuffed With Feta, Spinach and Bacon
Bon Appetit, October 2001
Makes about 48
8 ounces bacon slices
1 cup chopped onion
1 10-ounce package chopped frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 3/4 cup)
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
2 3/4 pounds button mushrooms (about 48; each about 1 1/2 inches in diameter), stemmed
Preheat oven to 375°F. Cook bacon in heavy large skillet until crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Coarsely crumble bacon. Discard all but 1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons bacon fat (adding olive oil if necessary to equal that amount).
Heat 2 teaspoons reserved bacon fat in heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add chopped onion and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to medium bowl and cool; mix in bacon, spinach, feta, cream cheese, and crushed red pepper. Season filling to taste with salt and pepper.
Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with foil. Toss mushrooms and reserved 1/4 cup bacon fat in large bowl to coat. Sprinkle mushrooms with salt and pepper. Place mushrooms, rounded side down, in single layer on prepared baking sheets. Bake mushrooms until centers fill with liquid, about 25 minutes. Turn mushrooms over. Bake mushrooms until brown and liquid evaporates, about 20 minutes longer. Turn mushrooms over again. Spoon 1 heaping teaspoon filling into each mushroom cavity. (Filled mushrooms can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)