Happy New Year to all my readers, friends and family! Another beautiful year is upon us; a clean canvas to write on and make memories. We wish you all the best.
The past couple of weeks went by comfortably for us, close in each others company. We stayed home, met friends, cooked, baked and slept in. Notes for Santa was mailed in and the expressions of surprise and joys of opening gifts were embossed in the hearts forever. The magic still exists and the message is clear.
There was no rush, no schedule to follow and that was probably the best part. Hope you all have had a wonderful holiday.
We had a potluck dinner on the Christmas eve in a dear friend’s home. We shared the task of cooking and there was an array of dishes with American, Indian and European flavors. This stuffed mushrooms was one of the dishes I took. This flavors of this recipe has been mind for the past few months now. This is the first time I made it. The recipe is inspired by the crab stuffed mushrooms in a rich tomato sauce that we religiously order almost every single time we visit the Italian Restaurant close to our home. I cannot speak enough of this place. The Crescent bread rolls I had posted earlier were inspired from the bread rolls they serve here. Every bite of food is fresh made with the best ingredients and is scrumptious.
Every time I dip the soft buttery rolls in the sauce of the stuffed mushrooms, it has reminded me of the Indian Makhani Sauce. And very time I give shapes and form to the recipe that I will make some day. That some day arrived on the eve of Christmas when I finally brought it to life.
Stuffed Mushrooms in Creamy Tomato Sauce
Ingredients: (Serves 6 – 8 as appetizers. 4-6 as side)
- 20 button or cremini mushrooms
- 3 large cloves of garlic, sliced
- 3/4 tablespoon oil
(You may use any kind of stuffing you want. This is what I used for this particular time. Here is another recipe for stuffed mushrooms which would work quite well. The amount of ingredients will vary with the size of the mushrooms. The bigger they are, the more you will need)
- chopped caps and stems of the mushrooms
- 2 tablespoon chopped onions – optional
- 4 tablespoon almond meal
- 4 tablespoon coarsely ground nuts
- salt and pepper and red crushed red pepper
- 1 teaspoon oil
- chopped herbs – optional
For the sauce:
- 1 cup of Makhani Masala (for vegan version use oil to cook the sauce instead of ghee/butter)
- 2.5 cups of whole milk + 1/4 cup of ground almonds/almond meal (or 1/4 cup of heavy cream/double cream if not using the milk and nut combo) - to make it dairy free, soak unsalted cashews in water and grind them to a paste. use instead of milk/cream or use almond milk with ground almonds.
- salt to taste
- freshly ground black pepper and red chili powder to taste (optional)
- fresh herbs for garnish.
Wash the mushrooms & pat them dry. Carefully scoop put the stem of the mushrooms to make a hollow inside the mushrooms (I used a thin paring knife). Save the stems & the caps.
Combine sliced garlic with the oil & heat the oil in a pan. Add the mushrooms to the pan & saute them while tossing at high heat till the mushrooms start to brown & all the water dries up. Do use high heat as the water needs to evaporate quickly before the mushrooms starts getting mushy. The mushrooms should be whole, a bit browned and dry. Set aside.
Finely chop the stems and scooped out caps of the mushrooms. In the same pan, the remaining oil. Heat; add the crushed red pepper and the chopped nuts. Stir them around for a minute and then add the chopped mushroom stems and caps and chopped onions if you are using. Cook at high heat until the mix dries up. Reduce heat and add the almond meal. Adjust salt. Stir and cook the almond meal with the rest of the mix – for about a couple of minutes. Add herbs if you are using and remove from heat and set aside.
When cooled, with a small spoon stuff the mushroom with filling. Set the stuffed mushrooms aside. They are to be added to the sauce just before serving.
To make the sauce:
Very lightly toast the almond meal in a thin layer in a dry skillet – in low heat for only a couple of minutes. This is just to enhance the flavor. You may skip the step if you want.
Combine the Makhani Masala, milk and the almond meal and cook at low heat until the sauce reduces and the raw taste of ingredients disappear. It will take approximately 20 minutes. The consistency should be that of a thick sauce that will not drip, but good enough to dunk and coat a piece of bread. Adjust time. If you are using almond milk/cashew paste or any other substitute, adjust cooking time. Adjust salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir them in and cook for another couple of minutes.
If you prefer a very smooth consistency for the sauce, you may blend it smooth after cooking.
Just before serving, place the stuffed mushrooms in the pan, stuffing side up and simmer one final time at low heat for about 5 minutes. Do not stir.
Remove the sauce and the mushrooms carefully in a serving dish. Garnish with fresh herbs and serve with rustic bread rolls, or flat bread like Naan.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes is the sauce is pre made. More if cooking the sauce at the same time.
Cooking Time: 30-45 minutes
Difficulty Level: Intermediate
Serves: Serves 6 – 8 as appetizers. 4-6 as side
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