Saturday, June 30, 2012

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Today I'm cooking Portobello mushrooms on the grill, although these can easily be done in your oven as well.  Portobello (or sometimes spelled 'portabella') is really just a large brown crimini mushroom.  Once the little brown crimini grows up to be about 4" - 6" in diameter it is deemed to be a portobello.

How It Got Its Name
There as many theories on the heritage of the name I referred to Elizabeth Schneider's vegetable bible "Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini" for some education.  It seems that there are as many "origins" to the name as there are experts to quote them.  Here are some of the main ones:
•Named after Portobello Road in London which has many high end antique shops and other fashionable establishments.
•Named after a T.V. show called Portobello
•The portobello in Northern Italy is called "cappellone" which means "big hat".

Selecting the Mushrooms
Select plump, firm and solid mushrooms. Avoid the limp or dried looking ones. They should not be shriveled or slippery (which indicates decomposition).  The mushroom should have a nice earthy smell.
When you bring them home, remove the mushrooms from any wrapping and spread on a tray and cover with paper toweling.   Don't moisten the towel or the mushrooms and place them in the refrigerator in an area that allows the air to circulate. Avoid placing any other items on top of them. The mushrooms should keep about 5 days, although as in all things using them when they are most fresh is very important.

Grilled Portobellos
Of course you don't have to stuff the mushrooms to enjoy them on the grill.  Simply wash, remove stems and set mushrooms aside. Melt butter, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic & pepper together in a small pot or on the grill. Halve largest mushrooms or cut in strips. Brush the mushrooms generously with the melted butter and olive oil mixture. On a covered grill over medium heat, grill the portobello mushrooms stem-side down for about 8 minutes. Turn and grill the tops of the portobello mushrooms for 6 to 8 minutes longer. The grilled portobello mushrooms should be tender and nicely browned.

Stuffed Portobellos
I stuff Portobellos with a wide-variety of ingredients.  You can use everything from creamed chicken to deviled crab to your favorite spinich and artichoke dip.  Most commonly I use the following recipe, but as I said whatever you have on hand can make a good stuffing for these tasty mushrooms.

 4 Portobello mushrooms
1/2 pound Italian sausage (bulk)
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 Tablespoons catsup
2 Tablespoons A1 brand steak sauce

Wash the mushrooms and remove the stems.  Set the caps aside and roughly chop the stems.  Add all of the agove ingredients to a mixing bowl along with the chopped stems and combine. 

Stuff the mushroom caps and place on the grill or in the oven for approximately 30 minutes (at 350F).  Baste with extra A1 steak sauce and serve.

I typically serve the mushroms outdoors with grilled corn and a side of garden fresh tomatoes.  Inside I often pair them with rice or potatoes.

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