Wednesday, April 30, 2008

How To Cook Lamb: Recipe for Stuffed Mushrooms with Ground Lamb and Feta (& My Mother's Secret Ingredient)


Stuffed Mushrooms With Homegrown Lamb, Onion, Parsley & Feta

We always eat well when my foodie mother visits the farm. During her most recent stay we were so busy with lambing season (which is still dragging on by the way) most of our homemade meals came straight from the freezer. Last fall, however, we had a chance to do lots of experimenting in the kitchen, and I'm slowly but surely getting some of those new favorite recipes posted. Enjoy!

I'm embarrassed to admit that up until last November I'd never stuffed a mushroom in my life. I now realize this is tragic, and I'm determined to make up for lost time because I've also realized there are a lot of stuffed mushroom recipes out there. I mean, you can stuff a mushroom with just about anything! Who knew? Okay, probably everyone but me.

My late-in-life stuffed mushroom introduction happened purely by chance. After picking my foodie mother up at the airport last fall for her twice yearly visit to the farm, we stopped by Trader Joe's to stock up for our upcoming ten day cooking and eating spree. And there they were: packages of giant 'Stuffer Mushrooms' nudged up against the regular-sized mushrooms and screaming at me. "YOU NEED US! YOU WANT US! TAKE US HOME AND STUFF US!"

Okay, maybe they didn't actually scream, but those giant beauties were definitely calling my name. I immediately thought of the nice hunk of feta cheese at home in the fridge and the freshly ground homegrown lamb I had earmarked for a shepherd's pie from Cooking With Shelburne Farms, one of my new favorite cookbooks (you'll find my raving review here). This was obviously fate, so I made a mental menu change - stuffed mushrooms it was going to be.

My mother agreed wholeheartedly with my decision. (Actually, at the time I may have implied that I would make her the shepherd's pie and the stuffed mushrooms, but I can't recall for sure because I was deep in the throes of love at first fungi sight). She even had an excellent stuffed mushroom recipe she used to make all the time. But she hadn't made it in at least a couple of decades. And of course it was somewhere back at her house in California.

"No problem," I assured her. "There must be a million recipes for stuffed mushrooms online."

"But they'll be for little appetizer-size mushrooms."

"No, they won't."

But yes they were. And the vast majority of them were stuffed with crabmeat. What's with that?

"We can adjust," I said.

"But we don't know how long to cook them," she pointed out.


Prepare to be stuffed!

"We'll wing it," I decided. "How hard can this be?" And I went into the kitchen and winged it. About 40 minutes later The Shack smelled divine, and I was serving us up a hot and healthy lunch.

"Do you want some of this juice spooned onto your plate with the mushrooms?" I asked her, then started wondering if there was actually enough of the yummy looking stuff for two sauce lovers or if I should have just kept quiet and slurped it all up myself.

"Of course I want some!" I knew it.

Yes, I can be that shameless about food - even when it comes to feeding my mother. But she's no Miss Goody-Two-Shares either, and she plays every card she can. At Christmas dinner a few years ago, I grabbed the heel of the homemade pain au levain out of the bread basket like I always do and received a death stare of disbelief.

"Oh, right. You like the heels, too, don't you?" More of the stare. "But I baked the bread, and the bread baker gets first pick."

"But I'm the guest. . . And the mother." Damn.

But back to the mushrooms. As I set our plates on the table, she suddenly blurted out, "Sour cream!"

"Sour cream?"

"I just remembered! That was the secret to my stuffed mushroom recipe. You stir some sour cream into the juice in the pan and make a sauce!" Yum.

And it was. The mushrooms would have been plenty tasty with just the juice straight from the pan, but stirring in that little bit of sour cream made them go from terriffic to totally divine.

I don't have a picture of the mushrooms with the sour cream sauce because by that point I was too hungry for a photo shoot. And besides, my mother probably would have stolen all my sauce when I wasn't looking.

So what's your favorite way to stuff a mushroom?


Let's eat!

Susan's Super Stuffed Mushrooms
This quick and easy recipe would be great to make with kids. Because there's no need to cook the filling before stuffing the mushrooms, only a few minutes of prep work are required. They taste great reheated the next day, so try to make enough so that you'll have leftovers. Note I say try. These mushrooms aren't real easy to stop eating. Also note that unless you're the only sauce fiend at the table, there probably won't be any of the sour cream sauce left over to pour on your leftover mushrooms.

The amounts of everything depend on the size and number of your mushrooms and your own personal taste. This isn't the kind of recipe you can really mess up, so do like I did and just wing it. And feel free to mix whatever else strikes your fancy into the meat. Some chopped fresh rosemary, perhaps? Or maybe a couple of chopped sun-dried tomatoes.

If you can't find the super size stuffer mushrooms, smaller ones would probably work fine, though they'll take a little longer to prepare. As always, I urge you to seek out local and organic ingredients whenever possible. They really do make a difference - in so many ways.

2 to 3 'stuffer mushrooms' per person, washed, stems removed & set aside
Ground lamb, preferably all natural & grass-fed
Chopped onion
Chopped fresh parsley, preferably Italian flat leaf
Crumbled feta cheese
Salt & pepper

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place mushrooms in a small casserole dish. Chop the reserved mushroom stems. In a medium bowl, use your clean hands to combine the ground lamb, onion, parsley, feta cheese, chopped mushroom stems, and salt and pepper. Don't overwork the meat or it'll become tough.



Gently cram as much filling into the mushrooms as you can, mounding it over the tops. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until you see a few crispy bits of ground lamb and a lot of juice/water has cooked out of the mushrooms.

Place mushrooms on serving plates. Pour mushroom juice into a small bowl and whisk in enough sour cream to make a sauce the consistency you desire. Pour sauce directly over the mushrooms or around them on the plate, or serve it on the side.

Want to try some of my other easy lamb recipes?
Onion & Herb Crusted Lamb Spareribs & Grilled Lamb Leg Steaks
Grilled Lamb Burgers With Roasted Red Pepper, Parsley, & Kalamata Olive Relish
Lamb Burgers with Garlic, Shallots, & Feta on Homemade Rosemary Focaccia
Slow Roasted Dutch Oven Lamb Shoulder Roasts or Lamb Shanks with Tomatoes, Onions, Garlic, & Rosemary
Slow Roasted Greek Style Leg of Lamb with Lemon, Oregano, Potatoes, & Swiss Chard

Still hungry? You'll find links to all of my sweet and savory Less Fuss, More Flavor recipes in the Farmgirl Fare Recipe Index.

© FarmgirlFare.com, the totally stuffed foodie farm blog where Farmgirl Susan shares stories & photos of her crazy country life on 240 remote Missouri acres - and everything revolves around the food.

17 comments:

  1. I am not allowed at a Sunday school pot luck without a double batch of theese (They are for the small mushrooms, but I have been thinking that they might be nice in the large caps as dinner with a salad).

    16 oz mushrooms (stems removed and minced)
    1/2 a small onion minced
    1 garlic clove minced
    1 block of cream cheese
    1/4 c shredded cheese (I usually use a mix of cheddar and parm becuase it is always on hand)
    cayenne
    pepper
    salt

    saute the stems onion and garlic till it is soft. Mix this in with the rest of the ingredients, stuff caps. You can sprinkle more parm on top but it isn't neccessary. Bake about 350-375 for 20-25 minutes (or until the mushrooms are cooked through and the cheese has melted). Honestly temp wise I just pop them in with whatever else I am cooking. Sometimes this is 350, sometimes 400. They have never been bad.

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  2. Good lord that sounds good. Hubs loves lamb and I love mushrooms...this could be the perfect marriage of food.

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  3. I just found your blog and I'm in love!

    I'm embarrased to say that at the age of 33 I have yet to stuff a mushroom...

    I shall slink off to my culinarily deprived kitchen and bake something in an effort at redemption.

    I'll be back for sure! Adding your blog to my favorites list at my own wee spot on the web.

    (I'm a food lovin' Missouri girl by birth - your blog has just won my heart!)
    Tiffany

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  4. What a fabulous treat! I love everything about this recipe.

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  5. Come fall, when the boy lambs have fulfilled their destiny and gone on to their reward (and become my reward for helping to dock their tails), I will be searching your site frequently for lamb recipes. Until then, I'll just have to settle for your photos. Must remember to have a towel handy to wipe the drool off my face, though . . .

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  6. I am totally salivating…..not sure if I can wait until the weekend to try these.

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  7. OK, nothing can beat fresh lamb but I have an old recipe from my days in California that calls for Italian sausage, cheese, and a white sauce stuffed in nice brown portabellinis - - http://theworldofjenotopia.com/cmsjoomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=83&Itemid=29

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  8. Oh those look so good, and I agree about the sour cream. Yum! Thanks for sharing these delicious mushrooms with Grow Your Own!

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  9. Oh woman, these look and sound devine! It's been years since I've stuffed a mushroom, but that's soon to change.

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  10. My very easy cheese stuffed mushrooms for beginners makes a very easy appetizer:

    medium mushrooms
    cubes of jalapeno jack cheese

    wipe mushrooms off with a damp paper towel and remove stems by pulling or cutting out

    put a cube of cheese in cavity left by stem

    bake at 375 or 400 until mushroom is cooked and hot and cheese has melted

    That's it.

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  11. What exactly is a stuffer mushroom? From the pictures they look like portobellas.

    I'm excited to try this. I love lamb, but on my student budget I usually can only afford to by it ground. Thanks, Susan, for the great idea.

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  12. Hi this blog is great. My sister is also an organic farmer in Kenya and she's doing some interesting things in Kibera, a slum in Nairobi Kenya, educating ex convicts how to be organic farmers - you might find her blog fascinating http://greendreams.edublogs.org

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  13. I made these this afternoon substituting fresh chopped spinach for parsley. They were so tasty that even though I'm 9 months pregnant my husband felt it was worth the risk to try to swipe some crumbs off my plate! This is definitely a recipe for the recipe book, thanks for sharing it.

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  14. Just out of curiosity, what do you think this would be like substituting stilton for the feta?

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  15. Hi Archerygirl,
    I think stilton instead of feta would probably be good! I love lamb burgers with a little blue cheese mixed into the meat. You just don't want a cheese that's so strong (or you use so much of it) that it overpowers everything else. If you try it I hope you'll let us know how they turned out.

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  16. Thank you so much. We love this stuffed mushrooms recipe.

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January 2013 update: I know word verification is a big pain, but it's the only way I can stop the ridiculous number of anonymous spam comments I get every day. I don't want to require commenters to be registered Blogger or Open ID users because I know many of you aren't. Thanks so much for your understanding!

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