Friday, November 10, 2006

spicy sausage 'shrooms

Saute some mild Italian sausage in a little water and olive oil. Use the bulk kind, or take the casings off of links. While it cooks, chop it up with a spatula or wooden spoon. Don't let it brown. You'll only need about 3/4 to 1 cup of cooked sausage, so if you cook a lot, save the rest for pizza or bolognese sauce.

While the sausage cooks, wash several large button mushrooms. With a paring knife, cut the stems out, and pare out some of the gills and edges to make little bowls of the caps. Save the stems for another project. Mushrooms freeze well enough for use in sauces and things.

Lightly oil a baking sheet, and the mushroom caps. Might want to line the sheet with foil, or use one with sides, because these will leak.

Drain the cooked sausage (as much as you need) and mince it very fine with a knife. Add generous sprinklings of Italian herbs (any pre-mixed blend that you like--I prefer Penzey's), fresh ground black pepper, and a tad too much red pepper flakes.

Add a couple spoonfuls of plain goat cheese (chevre). You want about 1 part goat cheese to 4 or 5 parts sausage, or to taste. Add just enough to make it stick together. Mix coarsely.

Use a spoon and your fingers to fill the mushroom caps and mound the sausage mixture on top. Garnish with some julienned red bell pepper, if you like. Sliced olives or onion might be nice, too.

Bake shrooms at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, depending on size. They will shrink and turn black. When they are allover dark, they're done. I did mine in the convection oven, at 375 for about 10 minutes.

Yum! Spicy! Salty! Rich! Way tasty little canape, or dinner. And it went pretty quickly, since I only made 10 or so.

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