Stuffed Mushrooms with Sausage and Crab Meat
The sausage and crab meat in the filling of these stuffed mushrooms combine for a rich and delicious appetizer perfect for any party or get-together.
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When it comes to party appetizers, some people will tell you that stuffed mushrooms are old-fashioned. I am not one of those people. Truth be told, stuffed mushrooms rank high of my list of favorite party foods because they're easy to eat in one bite or two, usually filled with something rich and delicious, and, in my opinion, way more exciting than whatever's going on with the veggie tray.
Of course, there's a more personal reason as to why I love stuffed mushrooms -- my mother served stuffed mushrooms at nearly all of her parties and get-togethers in honor of special occasions. Her version called for a curious filling mixture consisting of Cheez Whiz and pastrami (and other secret ingredients), and once guests discovered how delicious those mushrooms were, a small crowd would gather around that end of the table so they could be the first to grab the second batch fresh from the oven.
Although I didn't use Cheez Whiz for these stuffed mushrooms, I'd like to think that my mother would like them just as much as hers. My version gets its "something special" from a filling made with Neufchâtel cheese, Jimmy Dean Original Pork Sausage Crumbles, and lump crab meat. Because the sausage crumbles are fully cooked, the filling comes together in no time... and if you stuff the mushrooms ahead of time, you can slide them into the oven to bake just before your guests start to arrive, leaving you more time to spend with them instead of in the kitchen!
One thing that my version has in common with my mother's is the use of the whole mushroom Obviously, you're going to want to use the mushroom caps as the vehicle for the stuffing.
But you're also going to want to reserve the mushroom stems. Trim a little bit off the ends that weren't attached to the mushroom caps and then chop them up.
Melt some unsalted butter over medium heat in a large skillet.
Once the butter has melted, add the chopped mushroom stems and cook for a few minutes before adding some minced shallot. While you could skip the shallot altogether, they do add a subtle onion flavor to the background.
Next, add the Jimmy Dean Original Pork Sausage Crumbles. Even though they're fully cooked, you're going to want to heat the crumbles up to develop the overall flavor of the filling. Just before pulling the filling off the heat, add a large clove of minced garlic and cook everything together for one more minute.
Doesn't that look fabulous?
Just wait... It gets better.
To finish the filling, place room-temperature Neufchâtel cheese in a large bowl with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese. You could use cream cheese here, but I prefer Neufchâtel because it's slightly milder in flavor and contains approximately 33% less fat than cream cheese. Plus, the Neufchâtel really compliments the flavor of the mushrooms. You should be able to find it in your regular grocery store next to the cream cheese.
Add the sausage mixture to the cheese mixture and stir until fully incorporated. Then gently fold in one can of lump crab meat (drain it first) and you're ready to stuff the mushroom caps.
You should have enough filling to stuff 20-24 mushrooms. Be generous with the filling but keep in mind that there is potential for some bubbling over as the mushrooms release their moisture while baking.
Now, you're going to be tempted to sneak one of these stuffed mushrooms from right off the baking sheet as soon as you take them out of the oven because they're going to smell amazing. But do yourself a huge favor and let them sit for a few minutes before you do that. Otherwise, you're going to burn the roof of your mouth on the hot cheesy filling and you're going to curse yourself for being so impatient.
Not like I'm speaking from experience or anything...
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