Making stuffed mushrooms is a great way to put stale bread to use. I served soup the other night and we had 2 leftover rolls, so I decided to make a plate of these savory treats. To start, I sautéed a few vegetables, including zucchini, bell peppers, celery and carrots. You can use whatever you want, but it's a good idea to choose colorful ingredients. Once the vegetables were cooked, I added the bread, a little vegetable broth and fromage blanc. In case you were wondering, the fromage blanc helps keep the top moist even after the stuffed mushrooms are baked. To complete the dish, I topped the mushrooms with sharp Cheddar cheese.
I didn't add any additional spices, because the bread was already studded with chiles. Otherwise, a little heat is a nice touch to balance the flavor. One final bit of advice: make a bunch of these. They go fast!
Servings: 24 stuffed mushrooms
2 jalapeño cheddar cheese bread rolls, diced
24 button mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, washed, peeled and diced
1 mini zucchini, stemmed and diced
1 mini red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and diced
3 tablespoons carrots, diced
3 tablespoons curly parsley, chopped
1 cup vegetable stock (or canned vegetable broth)
1 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons fromage blanc (see tips)
1 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons sharp white Cheddar cheese, cut into thin slices
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Prepare the mushrooms. This step is optional but I usually peel the thin outer "skin" on the "hat" of button mushrooms, using a paring knife. Using the same paring knife, gently remove the stem of the mushrooms, creating a deep cavity. Gather the stems and thinly slice them.
In a small pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and cook until fragrant. Add the carrots and cook until they're golden and slightly caramelized. Add the celery, red bell pepper and mushroom stems. Stir well. Add the bread and the vegetable broth. Stir constantly so the bread absorbs the liquid. Turn off the heat. Add the fromage blanc and parsley. Season with salt, paprika and black pepper.
Stuff each mushroom with about 1-2 tablespoons of the bread mixture, creating a small mound. Drizzle with a little olive oil and bake for 20 minutes until the top is golden and forms a crust. Top with thin slices of cheddar cheese and broil for about 2 minutes, until melted.
I buy fromage blanc at a local store, called the Milk Pail Market. The address is 2585 California Street, Mountain View, California. If you don't can't find this kind of cheese, you could substitute low-fat cream cheese.
When cooking celery, don't forget to peel the celery using a vegetable peeler because it tends to be very fibrous.
I buy Artisan bread at Safeway. My husband Lulu especially likes the jalapeño cheddar cheese bread rolls, which go great with soups.If you use fresh bread rolls, you might want to place the bread in the oven once it's diced to dry it a little bit.