Liquid smoke is versatile, completely natural and eliminates the risk of burning your food on the grill, when you want to impart an authentic smoke flavor to your food. Plus I’m a lazy cook.
I marinate tofu in liquid smoke with great results, so thought why not mushrooms as well?
The other versatile ingredient here is porcini powder*. It’s really easy to make (as shown here) and all you need is a spice grinder. It also eliminates the need for soaking, rinsing, straining and chopping dried mushrooms – (I told you I was lazy, didn’t I?) – and is a wonderful addition to sauces, mashed potatoes, pasta dishes, sauteed mushrooms, or basically anything that cries out for a deeply intense, wild mushroom flavor.
If you don’t gather and dry your own porcini mushrooms, you can buy small packets of dried porcini in most good supermarkets these days. The Italian ones have the most intense flavor, in my opinion.
This recipe is for 24 stuffed mushrooms and I think two per person as an appetizer will suffice, so adjust your quantities accordingly.
I start making this the day before so that the mushrooms have time to marinate.
SMOKY STUFFED MUSHROOMS
24 small portabella/crimini/chestnut mushrooms about 2 ins (5cm) across, wiped clean with a damp cloth or paper towel, then stalks removed and set aside
For the marinade:
1/4 cup of x-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup of liquid smoke (I used hickory)
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
For the stuffing:
3 tbsp of x-virgin olive oil
1 cup measure (240ml) of onion, very finely chopped
The mushroom stalks, finely minced
3 tbsp of porcini powder *
1 1/2 cups of plain panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup of grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
4-5 tablespoons of freshly chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a large bowl combine the cleaned mushrooms with ¼ cup of olive oil and the liquid smoke, seasoning with a little sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss to evenly coat the ‘shrooms and set them aside to marinate for at least one hour and up to 8. Take them out of the marinade, shake off the excess liquid and arrange them in a single layer on a baking tray, gills-up.
Preheat the oven to 400°F/200C and bake them for about 10 minutes before stuffing (you can make them ahead to this point).
For the stuffing, heat a sauté pan until it’s quite hot then add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the minced onions. Cook for about 4-6 minutes until the onion has softened, stirring frequently, then add the chopped mushroom stalks, stirring for a minute or so until they’ve also softened. Stir in the porcini powder and cook for another 30 seconds, then transfer the mixture to a bowl and add the breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley (reserving some for decoration). Season to taste with salt and pepper.
The stuffing should just hold together when squeezed but if it’s too dry and crumbly, add small amounts of olive oil until it holds together.
Divide the stuffing between the mushrooms and bake in a 400F/200C preheated oven for about 15 minutes until slightly crispy on top. Garnish with the remaining chopped parsley and serve them while they’re still warm. Delicious!