The funny thing about party food is that you never know what appetizers will grab your guests’ attention. I put these stuffed mushrooms together almost as an afterthought and yet they disappeared in the blink of an eye. I was attracted by the ease with which they can be made and that they only require 20 minutes in the cooking in the oven before coming out piping hot and full of flavour.  

This recipe is based one I found in Tyler Florence’s Eat This Book. To make it, here’s what you’ll need:

24-30 white mushrooms
2 handfuls of cilantro/flat leaf parsley, chopped
½ cup of olives (pitted), chopped
¼ cup of sultana raisins, chopped
1-2 hot chillies, seeded and chopped
1 cup of panko breadcrumbs (or regular breadcrumbs)
1 cup of freshly grated parmesan (or store bought, if you have to)
3-4 Italian sausages (about 500g or 1lb)
1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
Salt (Kosher, if you’ve got it)
Freshly ground pepper
5-7 sprigs of thyme

First off, prep your non-meat ingredients. Remove the stems from the mushroom and make sure you have nice big wells in which to put as much of the meat mixture as possible. Oil an oven-proof baking pan and put in your mushrooms.

Next, combine your chopped olives, raisins, pepper(s), ¾ cups of breadcrumbs, ¾ cups of the parmesan and a table spoon of olive oil. Mix lightly to combine the ingredients.

With that out of the way, remove the minced meat from within the Italian sausage skin. Season with salt and pepper and add the mince to the non-meat mix you just put together.  Now, roll up your sleeves, get your hands in there, and start mixing the ingredients together. This will take about 2-3 minutes and is the most taxing part of the recipe.

Stuff the meat mixture into the mushroom…and don’t be shy! Next, sprinkle the leftover panko and parmesan on top of the stuffed mushrooms. Then, sprinkle the mushrooms with olive oil and drape some thyme over them.

If you’re having a party, you can cover your baking pan and refrigerate for a day. When you’re ready to go, put the uncovered pan in a 240ºC/500ºF preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove, let cool for 5 minutes, and serve.

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