Bacon Walnut Blue Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms
Creamy blue cheese with crunchy walnuts and smoky bacon, with a bit of cream cheese, garlic, onion, spinach and sweet pepper, all snuggled into a warm mushroom … now there’s a bite-sized dream come true! (Not that I dreamt of these or anything … okay, well, maybe I did … except I don’t really recall whether there was an actual DREAM, but I woke up in the middle of the night with these mushrooms on my mind …)
It all started when my yoga friend David got a job in Faribault, MN. He had to go there for 3 weeks. He told me that everywhere he lives, he has to explore the area and find out something unique about it. So he was out exploring in Faribault … and he saw a sign for a cave. A cave! That sounds like fun. He followed the signs to the cave, but was disappointed when he arrived and discovered he couldn’t actually go IN the cave. These caves, apparently, are cheese caves. Wait, did they say CHEESE caves? Well, my friend David really really really loves blue cheese. And these caves are apparently at the same latitude and are just the right temperature and conditions as the same caves in Europe where they make the BEST blue cheese in the world. Sooo therefore, the cheese made at the caves in Faribault, MN, must be the second best blue cheese in the world.
He was telling me this story after yoga one night when we were out having a beer. I was practically drooling as he was talking, just imagining it, because I am apparently just as much of a blue cheese freak as he is (although I didn’t know this similarity in our personalities until we had this conversation). I said to him, “how do I get you to share some of this blue cheese with me?” … the steps I had to take involved a bit of brown-nosing and such, but hey, we’re talking about the second best blue cheese in the WORLD here! I had to have some! I was going to do (just about) anything to get my hands on some of that cheese …
Next time I saw David at yoga, he had a little cooler with him, and in that little cooler, was a nice big hunk of that fabulous blue cheese. Just for me. And yes, it IS wonderful. I’m telling you: next time I drive through Faribault, MN, you can bet your patooties I’ll be stopping at a cheese cave to get me some of this fabulous cheese!
You don’t have to use the “best” (or the second best) blue cheese in the world for this recipe, but a good quality blue cheese does make a difference. I think you’re going to love these delectable little bites …
- 2 thin slices of bacon
- About 8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, cleaned
- 1 - 2 cloves garlic, peeled & chopped fine
- About 2 Tablespoons finely chopped red onion
- 1 mini sweet pepper, seeded and chopped fine
- 1 cup finely chopped fresh spinach.
- 2 oz. Greek cream cheese (or Neufchatel)
- 1 oz. good blue cheese
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
- A bit of shredded mozzarella or a blend of pizza cheeses
- Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray a small baking sheet with cooking spray.
- Cook the bacon in a small frying pan until crisp. Remove the bacon and drain off all but 1 teaspoon of the bacon fat. Chop the bacon fine, reserving about 1/3 of the bacon bits to sprinkle on top of the mushrooms.
- Pull the stems off the mushrooms and chop them fine. Saute the mushroom caps with the garlic and onion in the bacon fat for several minutes, stirring, sprinkling with Red Robin seasoning (or salt) & freshly ground pepper, then covering, then stirring again until the mushrooms are soft and tender but still moist ... and the onion is translucent. Add the pepper and cook for a few minutes more, until the pepper is tender. Remove the mixture from the pan, rinse the pan with hot water and wipe clean.
- Add the spinach to the pan with a light splash of water. Cover and cook for a few minutes, just until the spinach wilts. Use a clean kitchen towel to press down and squeeze out the excess moisture.
- Stir in the cheeses, the bacon and the mushroom mixture, reduce heat to medium low and cook until the cheeses melt. Stir in the walnuts.
- Put the mushroom caps on the prepared pan. Fill/heap each cap with the cheesy stuffing. Add a little bit of shredded cheese on each mushroom, then top with a few bacon crumbles.
- Bake the mushrooms at 400 F for about 15 minutes or until the cheese on top is melted and the mushrooms are tender. Let cool a few minutes before eating.
RECIPE SOURCE: http://www.sumptuousspoonfuls.com/
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