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It’s that time of year, when your social calendar just fills right up because it’s the holidays, and that makes people like to party. Sometimes with family, sometimes without, often both. This is the answer to that oft-asked question: What can I bring?

At salads, I’ve become a bit of a master at the make and take. Hint: put your dressing in a tiny tupperware, throw it in with your salad, and dress on site. Or use kale. When it comes to sides, I pretty much always have something up my sleeve I’ve been meaning to make but didn’t have time or an excuse to make time. But when someone asks me to bring an appetizer I’m usually at a loss. Probably because I generally don’t make appetizers. When I’m entertaining, I either whip up some kind of dip or do a cheese tray, or literally pop some popcorn and make it fancy. Never anything inspired.

venison sausage recipes

Enter: inspiration. These suckers are a little involved if you account for the time it takes to rip the stems off the mushrooms, but they are a crowd pleaser. It’s great if you’re bringing a dish, but probably not ideal if you’re also making a four course meal and dessert just because they are somewhat time consuming. I altered the recipe to leave out breadcrumbs because everybody is doing the paleo thing these days, and an appetizer usually needs to cater to most (vegetarians aside – sorry guys!). Other than that though, it’s mostly a matter of cooking the sausage, mixing the ingredients together and stuffing the shrooms. I found a cookie dough baller helped with the stuffing process, if you have one. Also, if you have a bunch of leftover stuffing after you’ve run out of mushrooms, put them in a min muffin tin and bake them right alongside the mushrooms. They end up caramelizing on the bottom and turn into delicious little morsels for breakfast the next morning. :)

These can be made ahead of time and either baked at the place you are going, if possible, or you can bake them and they can sit out for about 4 hours. Another little trick is that, as long as they lay flat, you can totally freeze these babies (after you’ve baked them already), regarnish before cooking, and 15 minutes at 350 and they are DONE! Definitely not a bad thing to make ahead and have on hand when you know you will have a lot of people over around the holidays. You will look like a freaking super star when these come out in 15 minutes.

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Sausage stuffed mushrooms

Serves 12-ish
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 25 minutes
Total time 45 minutes
Website The Kitchn

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil (separated)
  • 1 1/2lb baby bell mushrooms (stemmed, leaving a divot in the cap for stuffing, finely chopping and reserving the stems to add to the mixture)
  • 1lb hot Italian venison sausage (removed from the casings)
  • 1/4 red onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/4 cup sweet vermouth (or dry, whatever you have on hand)
  • 1 Large egg
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage (finely chopped, plus more for garnish)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan (plus more for sprinkling)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Optional

  • red pepper flakes (to taste)

Directions

Step 1
Preheat the oven to 350. Heat 2 T of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook until brown and just starting to crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon, leaving the drippings in the pan. Cook the onions in the fat until translucent, add the mushroom stems and cook until soft. Then add the garlic and cook until fragrant, another 2-3 minutes. Deglaze with the vermouth and let simmer a few minutes while the alcohol cooks off. Add to the sausage mixture.
Step 2
Toss the mushroom caps with olive oil (or spray generously with a Misto or olive oil spray - and spray a foil-lined pan too). Place the mushrooms whole-side up on the baking sheet. Stir the egg, sage and parmesan into the sausage/onion mixture and mix well. Season with a little salt, pepper and red pepper flakes if desired. Fill each mushroom cap with a good amount of filling. A cookie dropper spoon tool is helpful here, if you have one. Be generous with the stuffing. If you have leftover stuffing, spray a mini muffin tin and fill with the remaining mixture.
Step 3
Bake everything at 350 for about 25 minutes, or until the stuffed mushrooms are golden brown. Transfer to a platter and garnish with more grated parmesan. Serve with a smile. :)
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Non game substitution: Any sausage, especially of the Italian or breakfast variety, will work here. As soon as I started making them I thought man – a Chorizo/Asiago stuffing would be delish!

 


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