Stuffed mushrooms are the stuff of dreams. It’s the earthiness of these mushrooms with a rich creamy, liqueur-infused spinach stuffing spiked with fresh Gulf oysters and a pungent hit of Cajun spice that sends me into a dream state. Oh yes! In previous recipes, I’ve stuffed over-sized portobellos in entrée-size portions, but these days I’ve been experimenting with the taste explosion of smaller appetizer-sized portions. And I have a winner.
I was inspired by the traditional oyster Rockefeller dish of New Orleans fame, but using large button mushrooms as the perfect vessel for delivering this flavor bomb just sealed the deal on this recipe. This two-bite appetizer or holiday party pass-around is easy to make ahead and a cinch to bake off piping hot.
The key to this dish is sourcing Louisiana oysters with their liquor (juice) and slowly reducing down all the liquid elements of the dish until you reach an ultra-thick stuffing consistency. It’s a process made simple by the last minute addition of cornstarch to achieve the perfect body. The use of a flavorful wine or liqueur like Lillet (or Pernod) layers on the rich Rockefeller flavor which is a defining element of the dish. While optional, I urge you to invest in a bottle for other recipes to come.
The creamy richness is balanced out by the Cajun spice along with jalapeno-laced pepper jack cheese crowned with a regal topping of grated Parmesan. I promise, this jacked-up version of stuffed mushrooms is sure to have your holiday guests wanting more.
- 8 large button mushrooms or baby portobellos
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 cups tightly packed fresh spinach, stems removed
- 2 tablespoons Lillet or any anise-flavored liqueur such as Pernod, optional
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 cup grated pepper jack cheese
- 8 oysters with their liquor
- 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
- Dash of hot sauce
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch, if needed
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Inspect the mushrooms and clean them, removing the center stem and exposing the cavity.
- In a skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. Chop the spinach, add to the pan, and stir until it wilts, about 5 minutes.
- Add the liqueur and cook off the alcohol, about 3 minutes. Add the cream and watch as it begins to reduce. Once it reduces by half, lower the heat to a simmer, and add the pepper jack cheese.
- Remove the oysters to a cutting board retaining the oyster liquor. Chop the oysters and add to the pan, along with 2 tablespoons of the oyster liquor. Continue simmering until the oysters are cooked through and the cream thickens, 5 to 8 minutes. Season with Cajun seasoning, hot sauce, salt, and pepper.
- If the mixture is not thick, sprinkle the cornstarch over the pan and stir until it becomes thick like stuffing. Move the pan off the heat and let cool.
- Spoon the mixture into the cavity of the mushrooms and mound it on top. At this point, you can move the mushrooms to the refrigerator and let chill until ready to bake the mushrooms.
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF. In a skillet or baking tray, add the mushrooms and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake on the center rack for 20 minutes and remove.
- Serve immediately.
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