This sweet and savory stuffed mushroom appetizer is made with ground sweet Italian sausage, goat cheese & chopped Calimyrna figs. For a little extra eye appeal they’ve been topped them with slivered almonds.
Fresh Calimyrna figs are definitely my preference over the darker variety fig as they have a milder flavor that doesn’t over power the other ingredients. The tastes of this stuffed mushroom will burst with variety of sweet and savory flavors that seem to crunch and pop out individually.
You can easily substitute golden delicious apples and feta cheese for figs and goat cheese if not available. Sometimes you can find dried figs packaged on the same aisle in the grocery as where you find raisins.
The sausage is first sauteed and then reduced with Crown Royal Whiskey. I’ve found that using the Crown to reduce sauteed foods adds a slightly sweet flavor to the food. Some other uses for the Crown as a reduction would be sauteed onions or sauteed mushrooms for a meat main dish topping or when making a milder gravy or sauce. Funny thing is that I don’t drink Crown Royal and only keep it on hand for guest or for cooking. It’s my main substitute for white wine since I’m not much of a white wine drinker so when making something like Chicken Marsala I’ll use the Crown instead. Give it a try!
|1 pound Sweet Italian Sausage; ground||24 ounce Mushrooms Fresh, Large portabello’s for Stuffing or Smaller Button for Appetiser|
|1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon||8 ounces Goat Cheese or Half Goat Cheese and Half Parmesan Cheese|
|2 pinch Nutmeg||5 ounces Figs Calimyrna, Chopped Fine|
|1/2 teaspoon Salt & pepper; to taste||1 cup Walnuts chopped|
|1/8 cup Crown Royal Whiskey; substitute Jack Daniels or Beef Broth||1/4 cup Almonds slivered|
In a medium to large fry pan add Italian Sausage to pan and break up as much as possible to allow for even cooking. Sprinkle cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper over the top layer of the sausage to evenly distribute the spices. Cook over medium heat until sausage is fully cooked. Drain of excess oil. Return to heat and add 1/8 cup of Crown Royal. Continue to cook until the alcholol is completely absorbed and the alchohol aroma has disappated.
Let sausage mixture cool to slighly warm prior to adding remaining ingredients.
Prepare Mushrooms for Stuffing: Clean fresh mushrooms tops with a moist paper towel to remove any bits that are sometimes in the packaging. Trim stem bottoms to remove any dried stem. Remove stems and set aside. Use a melon scoop to remove additional stem or mushroom inside to allow more room for stuffing.
Chop figs and mushrooms stems until small bits. Chop walnuts into small bits if purchased in larger size. Add chopped figs, chopped mushroom stems, chopped walnuts, goat cheese and parmesan cheese (if you decided to go half & half on the cheeses) to the sausage mixture. Mix well. Use your hands to mix together all the ingredients. Dig in and thoroughly mix the cheese, figs, walnuts, etc into the sausage so that the sausage mix can be formed into balls to press into the mushrooms.
At this time preheat oven to 350 degrees. For button mushrooms, lightly press approximately 1-1.5 tablespoon of sausage mixture into the scooped out mushroom. For larger stuffing mushrooms, allow for around 2-3 tablespoons per mushroom. There will be around 24-30 button mushrooms or 12-15 large mushrooms.
Place each stuffed mushroom stuffing side up on non-stick baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes for button mushrooms or 20-30 minutes for large mushrooms. Remove from oven when the mushroom sides are of a browned color. Do not overcook.
I tried another variation of this recipe using 6 large Portabello mushrooms. Cooked at 375 for 15 minutes and then down to 350 for the balance. Served 4 people for a brunch. This was surprisingly good as a meal and will definitely make the mushrooms this way again.
You can also find this recipe on BigOven where all my recipes are collected. Or,
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