You may think that I am exaggerating with the title of this recipe, but trust me when I say that I'm not. These really are the best stuffed mushrooms you'll ever have.
I needed to make an appetizer for a dinner at my local fire department earlier this week and stuffed mushrooms was one of the first things that popped into my head. I knew that I wanted them to be a little spicy since they were going to be eaten by firemen, but beyond that I wasn't sure, so I went to the internets for ideas. Google pointed me towards several different recipes with cream cheese based stuffing and I wondered why I'd never heard of them before. I love cheese so it only seems natural to use cream cheese for the stuffing. Thus my recipe began to take shape.
I decided on using sriracha to add the spice to the recipe because it has a slight sweetness to it and I knew that would compliment the cream cheese well, along with the white wine I had also decided to use. If you're already familiar with sriracha and you are worried about how spicy it is, feel free to dial it back a little. I only used about a tablespoon and a half for 32 ounces of mushrooms (which was about 72 for me, but the number of mushrooms in an 8 oz package varies widely from package to package) but I wound up with a slight warmth for the spice level, which I think was perfect. I think if you added much more heat than that it would cover up the great balance of flavors going on in these mushrooms.
32 oz whole white button mushrooms
1 large yellow onion
4 cloves garlic
2-3 mild italian sausage links (approx 1/3lb italian sausage meat)
1/3 cup chardonnay or other dry white wine
12 oz cream cheese
1 egg yolk
1 oz grated pecorino romano or parmesan cheese
1-1/2 tbsp sriracha or other hot sauce
1/4 tsp fresh cracked black pepper (1/2 tsp if not fresh)
1/4 tsp salt
Wash the mushrooms gently under cold running water to remove any dirt and pop out the stems. Dice the mushroom stems finely and set them aside. Peel and dice the onion, and peel and mince the garlic.
Remove the sausage links from their casing and cook over medium heat in a frying pan until cooked most of the way through. (Don't worry, the meat will finish cooking in the oven.) Transfer the sausage meat to a plate to cool.
Add the onion and garlic to the same pan and cook for a few minutes until the onion begins to become translucent. Add the white wine and be sure to stir the pan to deglaze all of the sausage bits that were left behind. When the wine has fully cooked down (there is no more liquid left) add the chopped mushroom stems. Cook this until the mushrooms have darkened in color and have softened - about 10 minutes more. Transfer the onion-mushroom mixture to another place and allow it to cool.
Now that the most time consuming part of the recipe is over you can preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl combine the cream cheese, sriracha, egg yolk, salt and pepper and mix them together completely. Add the pecorino romano and stir again. Once the sausage meat is fully cooled you can add it to the cheese mixture, but first make sure that the pieces are small enough to stuff into your mushrooms. You may need to do a little chopping. Next you can add the cooled onions and mushrooms and stir.
Now comes the stuffing of the mushrooms. Set them on a cookie sheet once they're stuffed, and don't worry about crowding them together; they're allowed to touch.
Bake the mushrooms in your 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. I dare you to wait for them to cool before you try one. I couldn't do it.
You may notice that you have a considerable amount of stuffing leftover. I have found that this makes some pretty amazing stuffing for chicken breasts (just butterfly the breasts, add about 1/2 cup of the filling and back at 350 for 50 minutes). If you come up with any other ideas I'd love to hear them - but I won't hold it against you if you just want to cook it and eat it by itself!