I know there are a bazillion recipes out there for stuffed mushrooms, many of them worthy of serious consideration and respect. But this here particular recipe is simply stellar. It’s not only easy (it really is), but these little mushroom morsels are amazingly flavorful, and, dare I say, a little on the healthy side. Sure, there’s a little butter and a little bacon, but really, just a little. And if you would like to make them vegetarian, leave out the bacon, swap the butter for olive oil and they’ll still be scrumptious.
The big flavor in these little guys comes from the Gouda cheese, which not only makes them taste divine, but creates a lovely aromatic ambience in your kitchen as they bake. OK, the bacon doesn't hurt either.
Now, about those photos... I made an executive decision to post only the photos I took before I baked them. It's my blog so I get to do that. And it's not that these little guys look so terribly awful after baking, it's just that they weren't so, shall we say, photogenic. After baking, our lovely little mushrooms do turn dark and the filling melts in and there is some shrinkage, which is perfectly normal for mushrooms and makes them taste wondrously divine. And even as I write this, it makes my mouth water to think of it, but dang, it, the photos did not do them justice. So use your imagination if you must, but do make these. Here's the recipe...
6 oz. bacon
2 Tbsp. butter
1 sm. onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic minced
1 cup packed fresh spinach, chopped
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded gouda cheese
¾ cup fresh bread crumbs
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil or parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
24 2-inch crimini mushroom caps (remove stems and hollow out a cavity)
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place the bacon on a rack over a baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until crisp. It will get crispier as it cools. Chop into small dice and place in a mixing bowl.
Melt butter in skillet over medium heat, add the diced onion and garlic; saute 3 minutes.
Stir in spinach; cook just until wilted. Add to bacon; allow to cool slightly. Stir in cheese, bread crumbs and basil. Season with salt and pepper. You may add a drizzle of olive oil if this seems a little dry.
Place mushrooms on baking sheet. Mound about 2½ tablespoons cheese mixture into center of each mushroom cap. Bake at 400 degrees for 8 minutes. Serve warm from the oven.