By Elisabeth Watkins
Elisabeth Watkins is known as the “Farm Girl Chef” from Linden, Calif. She is the winner of Food Network’s Chopped Junior and a senior in high school in Modesto, Calif. Elisabeth learned to appreciate food growing up on a sixth-generation family farm. Currently, she instructs cooking classes, judges cooking competitions, appears on local television and promotes her passions: agriculture and cooking.
With the holidays fast approaching, I can’t help but think about all of the good things I’m planning on eating. My mom always taught me that when others invite you into their home for a party, dinner, or just a get-together, you need to bring something for the gathering. Appetizers are always a good option because no one will turn down quick bites of food!
An old favorite of mine, but still a delicious one, is stuffed mushrooms. They are very versatile from beef to pork, or mixtures of cheeses and herbs, and you can use what you have on hand and adapt the recipe to your liking.
My recipe for beef stuffed mushrooms uses sage and smoked gouda cheese. Ground Certified Hereford Beef is great to use because it adds an extra burst of flavor and protein, instead of filling the mushrooms with straight carbs.
After I clean the mushrooms and remove the stems, I chop the stems in a food processor to add back into the filling. What I love about this step is that it reduces waste and gives you the most bang for your buck.
The seasoned beef is then used to fill the mushroom caps. If I have any extra filling leftover, I either save it for later or make meatballs out of it.
Sometimes if I am craving stuffed mushrooms for an entree, I will make the filling and stuff portobello caps instead of button mushrooms.
Here are just a few more tips and tricks when making these stuffed mushrooms:
• These can be made up to two days in advance. After filling the caps, cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate. When you are ready to bake, remove the plastic or foil and bake.
• If you plan on making the recipe for a more sophisticated palate, try substituting the smoked gouda for blue cheese. It pairs really well with beef.
• When plating the finished dish, finely chop extra sage or parsley to sprinkle over the top. The vibrant green really adds another dimension to the final product making the beef mushrooms picture perfect.
Check out the recipe for my Certified Hereford Beef stuffed mushrooms below, and I hope you’ll try them for your next family gathering.
• 1/2 pound ground Certified Hereford Beef
• 36 small cremini mushrooms
• 1/3 cup smoked gouda, shredded
• 1/4 cup soft bread crumbs
• 3 tablespoons chopped sage
• 2 teaspoons steak seasoning
• Salt to taste
• Minced fresh sage for garnish (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Remove and reserve stems from mushrooms. Place mushroom caps on a greased baking sheet and season with salt; set aside.
3. Mince mushroom stems to yield 1/2 cup. Discard remaining stems.
4. Combine beef, gouda, bread crumbs, sage and seasoning. Spoon mixture evenly into mushroom caps.
5. Bake mushrooms for 15-20 minutes. Sprinkle with additional sage for garnish, if desired.