Relaxed, inspired and energized; that’s how I’m feeling these days. I’m finally getting out of my school induced rut. Exams finished on Friday, and having finished exams at least a week before most of my friends means that the city is deserted. I finally have all the time in the world to watch all of the John Lennon and Paul McCartney videos I can find on YouTube, catch up on reading (I’m reading One Day by David Nicholls) and be a total food nerd and spend hours in the kitchen creating recipes.
Over the last month or so I’ve really been lacking in inspiration. I can’t even tell you the number of times I would go into the kitchen and stare into the cupboards and the fridge only to leave the room empty handed. You could say I was in a food rut. And a blogging rut. And a life rut. I think my brain and my body were a little exhausted.
The holiday season has always been my favourite time of the year. It’s just so inspiring, especially with all of these Christmas flavors like cranberries, tangerines and peppermint, to name a few. These Cranberry Stuffed Mushrooms came in a moment of inspiration, something which I have not felt for a while now. There was also a 2 for $5 sale on bags of cranberries at the grocery store, which may have helped. Whatever the reason, these Cranberry Stuffed Mushrooms were born. And are they ever special. With flavors of the season, rich and decadent goats cheese and crumbled sausage, they are the perfect holiday appetizer.
Cranberry Stuffed Mushrooms (makes 12)
Recipe by Lou
12 button mushrooms, stems removed
1/4 cup fresh cranberries, chopped
1 tbsp butter
Olive oil for pan
1 medium sausage link
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tbsp white wine
1/4 cup goats cheese
1/4 tsp dried sage
3/4 tsp maple syrup
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp Parmesan
Preheat oven to 350.
Dice 6 of the mushroom stems, discarding the remaining 6.
In a pan, melt butter over med-low heat. Add cranberries and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the mushroom stems and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool in bowl.
In the same pan, turn up the heat to med-high and add a little olive oil to coat the pan. Next, add the garlic and sausage meat. Cook and crumble until sausage is fully cooked.
Leaving the sausage meat in the pan, add the white wine, scraping up all the brown bits on the bottom.
Turn off heat and add the cranberry and mushroom mixture back into the pan. Add in the goats cheese, sage and maple syrup. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Allow goats cheese to melt then stir together to combine all of the ingredients.
Spoon the mixture into the mushrooms and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
After the 15 minutes, remove from oven and sprinkle with Parmesan. Return to oven and bake for another 5-7 minutes.
These cranberry stuffed mushrooms hold the perfect balance of tang, sweetness and richness. I think they make a wonderful and sophisticated appetizer for your holiday spread this December.