I think it's a reaction to all of the sugary cocktails and cookie swaps of the past week or so: I'm craving spicy foods. Daydreaming about crunchy shell tacos and batches of four alarm chili. I've also been influenced by a visit to Louisiana and stacks of spiral-bound local cookbooks from places there like Big Cane and Shreveport. I'm gearing up for another trip there next week…and I have Cajun on the brain.
One of those cookbooks is called Jambalaya. In it, as you can imagine, is a recipe for Jambalaya inspired…everything. One such recipe was for "Spicy Stuffed Jambalaya Mushrooms". It's been in my head for weeks. While I didn't use the recipe from the book for my batch – it called for things like chicken broth and Ritz crackers (!!!) – I took inspiration from it.
The filling for these mushrooms has every intention of being Cajun: hot spice, peppers, sausage. I have omitted the green peppers because, well…I think they are the devil in vegetable form. I don't wanna hear it about not including The Trinity – I've come as close as I'm gonna get. If you love green peppers, substitute for the yellow pepper or use all three. The sausage in my stuffing is crumbled hot Italian pork sausage. Please, by all means, add tiny diced Andouille or chopped cooked shrimp to your rice mixture.
This is not your average cocktail party demure stuffed mushroom. These are heavy duty apps – knife and fork stuffed mushrooms, for sure. A great approach would be to cook two or three of them in individual casseroles or small baking dishes. If you serve them on a platter, make sure you have utensils and plenty of napkins around. Another great thing about this recipe is you could make your filling and bread crumb mixture ahead of time, clean your mushrooms…and then assemble right before your party. It'll be a huge time saver and put a substantial nosh on your table in about 25 minutes.
Jambalaya Stuffed Mushrooms – makes 18 large stuffed mushrooms
– Preheat oven to 375F.
– In a large saucepan, bring 1 3/4 cups water to a boil. Cook 1 cup rice using your preferred method. I find that this instructional post on Real Simple is a great no-brainer method for cooking rice. Once rice is done, set aside covered.
– In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs and grated cheese. Drizzle with 1 tsp. olive oil and combine. This will give you a little golden browning on your crumb mixture.
– In a large sauté pan, heat your 2 tbsp of stock/wine/water. Add mushroom caps and carefully cook them until they start to shrink slightly and gain color – 2 minutes or so on each side. Take off heat and arrange in your baking dish(s). You can do this in batches if your pan isn't large enough.
– In that same pan, heat 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil. Add garlic and cook until translucent but not brown, 1-2 minutes. Add chopped onion, chopped red pepper, yellow pepper, and celery. Cook until tender, 3-4 minutes. Add ground sausage and brown, using wooden spoon or silicone spatula to break it up into crumbles as it browns. Once cooked, about 5 minutes, add cayenne pepper, chili powder and Cajun seasoning. Stir thoroughly to combine. Add tomato paste and stir to combine. Carefully fold in cooked rice and mix completely. Take mixture off heat and allow to cool slightly but not completely – this is more about not burning your hands than it is about the recipe process :)
– To assemble: Using a tablespoon, spoon or small scoop, fill each mushroom cap with a heaping tablespoon of your Jambalaya rice mixture. Sprinkle each top with about a teaspoon of bread crumb mixture. Bake in your preheated 375F oven for 10-12 minutes or until you start to see light golden brown on your crumbs. Serve immediately.