With the US elections now over, we can finally focus on far more entertaining topics, like holiday party food. Right? These Stuffed Mushrooms are a vegetarian’s dream filled with one of the best ingredients of the Fall: chestnuts. Time to celebrate! -Maggie
Over the past few weeks the air in New England has been changing. It’s a familiar feel that brings an open-arm embrace to sweaters and hooded sweatshirts while at the same time an outstretched grasp hoping to cling to a few more days of warm weather. Fireplaces begin to smoke and the scent of burning wood while working out in the yard brings about a certain hunger. Thoughts of consuming recipes composed of heartier elements than most that I have eaten over the past few months begin to invade my cravings.
The seasonal changes of fall bring about the recollection of roasting chestnuts in the fireplace while growing up. The uniquely brown nuts marked with an “X” pattern would line the outer tiles of the fireplace hearth, slowly roasting until their aroma filled the room. My family would eat them together as soon as they were cool enough to peel, but we had never used them in a recipe.
Recently, while consulting with my hunger, I sensed that these hard-shelled delights might work well in a stuffed mushroom. I combined the fresh chestnuts with local leeks and hand-picked apples from a local orchard, then added some Manchego cheese to round out the flavors. Normally, I would only make stuffed mushrooms for a holiday party or for a appetizer-friendly gathering. Sometimes, however, it’s okay to stray from routine and make them for an evening of informal lounging about the home. It’s also okay to completely change things up a bit and try different ingredients not typically used for mushroom stuffing.
This recipe came together a few weeks back and just felt natural. Feel free to share any thoughts on which ingredients you think might play well with others inside a mushroom cap.
- 1 pound mushrooms, with stems chopped and reserved
- 1 cup finely chopped leeks
- 1 cup finely chopped roasted chestnuts
- 1 apple, chopped
- 1 ½ cups Manchego cheese
- 2 tbs butter
- 1 tbs cinnamon
- Salt to taste
To roast chestnuts:
- Take 12-16 fresh whole chestnuts and cut an “X” into the rounded side.
- Put chestnuts on a baking sheet with “X” facing up, and put a 1/2 cup-1 cup of water in pan.
- Place in a pre-heated oven at 450 ° F for 10-12 minutes (until “X” opens up). Remove and peel while still warm.
- Chop chestnuts for mushrooms.
To make stuffed mushrooms:
- Preheat oven to 350 ° F.
- In a large skillet, sauté leeks and chopped mushroom stems with butter for about 5 minutes over medium heat. Add in chestnuts, apple and cinnamon. Mix and continue to heat for 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Add in cheese and mix well.
- Use a small spoon or your hands (be careful, mix will be hot!) to stuff the mushroom caps.
- Place stuffed caps onto a baking sheet (line if using a metal pan) and put into oven for 40 minutes. Enjoy!
All photos styled and taken by Matthew Petrelis.
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