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Make room for mushroom

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

If you like mushrooms, you will probably love this recipe. Typically, stuffed mushrooms are an appetizer that is baked in the oven.

The thing about these mushrooms is that they are made in the slow cooker. No need to heat up the kitchen; your oven can be used for something else.

First or all, if you are preparing these mushrooms in the slow cooker, do not even consider using white button mushrooms. You will have to use the portabellas as they are firmer and can hold up better when cooking in liquid. Crimini mushrooms would be good, also.

Be sure to scoop out the gills of the mushroom. If you skip this step, the mushroom will produce a black liquid when you bite into it. This will not harm you, but it doesn’t look that great.

Use arugula in this recipe. It will wild, like spinach. But unlike spinach it still will hold its shape. Kale or Swiss chard also would be good substitutes.

I tend to use spinach in a lot of things. I think I will start using arugula, kale or Swiss chard more often. 

Arugula adds a peppery flavor to the mushroom. If you are concerned you will have too much arugula left over, just add it to a salad. It is delicious. No need to even cut the stems off; they are not hard and fibrous.

Once you have assembled the mushrooms and are ready to add them to the slow cooker, you will realize that there is not enough room. 

Not to worry.

Stack the mushrooms in between the other mushrooms on the bottom, within an hour all the mushrooms will fit in nicely.

Once the mushrooms have finished cooking, pour the liquid out and dry out the inside of the slow cooker. Place the mushrooms back in and sprinkle the Parmesan cheese and parsley on. 

If you prefer a cheesier mushroom, put a small square of Swiss cheese on instead of the Parmesan.

Let them cook again for about 10 to 15 minutes. They will dry out a little bit, but still be incredibly moist. You can tell they are done when the cheese has melted.

We like this so much that I will sometimes make them for dinner. When I do this, I like to use the large portabella mushrooms caps.

The next time you have to bring an appetizer someplace, try making these for your guests. Hopefully your family doesn’t eat them all before your guests arrive.

And remember ... a good cook always cleans up!

Sausage and arugula stuffed mushrooms

2 packages (6 ounces each) baby Portobello mushrooms

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

½ teaspoon salt, divided

½ teaspoon black pepper, divided

½ lb. bulk pork sausage

½ onion, finely chopped

2 cups arugula, rinsed and chopped

¼ teaspoon dried thyme

2 tablespoons garlic and herb flavored dried breadcrumbs

1-½ cups chicken broth, divided

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Coat 5- to 6-quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Wipe mushrooms clean, removed stems and hollow out mushroom caps. Pour 3 tablespoons oil into small bowl. Brush mushrooms inside and out with oil. Season mushrooms with ¼ teaspoon pepper; set aside.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in medium skilled over medium heat until hot. Add sausage. Cook and stir until browned. Transfer sausage with slotted spoon to medium bowl.

Add onion to skillet. Cook and stir loosening browned bits, about 3 minutes or until onions are translucent. Stir in arugula and thyme. Cook until arugula is just wilted, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Remove skillet from heat. Add sausage, breadcrumbs and 1 tablespoon broth, and remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper. Mix well to combine. Scoop 1 tablespoon of stuffing into each mushroom cap. Divide remaining stuffing evenly between mushrooms.

Pour remaining broth into slow cooker. Arrange stuffed mushrooms in bottom. Cover; cook on HIGH for 3 hours or until mushrooms are tender. Remove mushrooms with slotted spoon; discard cooking liquid. 

Wipe out the inside of the slow cooker and put mushrooms back in. Blend cheese and parsley and sprinkle onto mushrooms.

Let mushrooms sit in slow cooker until cheese is melted. Serve.

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