“Sausage” stuffed mushrooms

Ancient Egyptians called mushrooms “the magic food” and were believed to be the source of living a long life. 4,600 years later we find mushrooms stocked in the produce section of the local supermarket. I’ve chosen to highlight the mushroom with this week’s post and will show you how to include it into your eating routine.

Health Benefits:
The Portobello mushroom is 90% water and contains only 18 calories per medium sized cap. This low-calorie food is a staple in vegetarian diets and can be used in several ways in the kitchen. Mushrooms contain compounds that help boost the immune system, and provide cancer fighting properties. Specifically, mushrooms contain a unique antioxidant L-ergothioneine which has shown promise of decreasing tumor size and reducing blood pressure.

Here are more super foods found in this weeks’ recipe…

Broccoli Rabe – Known for its cancer-fighting potential, broccoli rabe is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family. Its florets, although visually similar to broccoli, are much different in terms of taste. They resemble mustard greens in that the florets are bitter and pungent. Broccoli rabe also contains glucosinolates – which research has shown to be effective against warding off stomach, colon, lung and prostate cancers. The bitterness in broccoli rabe reflects a good source of folate, which helps protect against heart disease.

To make broccoli rabe less bitter, you can blanch it. Blanching is a cooking technique that involves boiling water and submerging the product, in this case broccoli rabe, for about 2 minutes. Remove it from the pot and immediately place it in a bowl of ice and water, otherwise known as an ice bath. Doing this halts the cooking process and removes the bitter taste.

For this recipe, I wanted to make the ground chicken breast taste like pork sausage, without the unnecessary fat, of course. In the culinary world, chefs have an abundance of ingredients to work with, especially spices that can enhance the flavor of the dish without adding calories. Listed below is a sausage spice blend that was used in this week’s recipe.

Sausage Spice Blend:
1 Tbs. Fennel seeds
1/2 tsp. ground Coriander
1/4 tsp. Carroway seeds
1/2 tsp. Garlic powder
1 tsp. Oregano
1 Tbs. Black pepper
1 tsp. Red pepper flakes
1 Tbs. Kosher salt
1/2 tsp. Lemon zest (peel of the lemon)

1. Combine all ingredients and mix well.

In addition to adding a ton of flavor to your meals, spices also provide great nutritional benefits too. Listed below are some of the heavy-hitting spices in the recipe.

Coriander: Reducing inflammation, cholesterol, and alleviating bloating are among the chief nutritional benefits of coriander.
Fennel: Relives congestion, stomach cramps and headaches
Garlic powder: Garlic contains antiviral and antibacterial properties along with lowering blood pressure and reducing water retention.

On to the recipe –

“Sausage” – stuffed Portabella Mushrooms

Yield: 4 servings; 2 mushrooms per serving

For the Mushroom
8 medium – large portabella mushroom caps
2 tsp. Balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

For the Broccoli Rabe
1 large bunch of blanched Broccoli Rabe (stalks trimmed and cut into 2” pieces)
3 cloves garlic chopped
2 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup chicken stock or water
salt and pepper to taste

For the sausage
2 lbs. 99% lean ground chicken breast
1 Tbs fennel
1/2 tsp ground corriander
1/4 tsp caraway seed
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp oregano
1 Tbs black pepper
1.5 tsp red pepper flakes
1 Tbs kosher salt
1/2 tsp lemon zest
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup red wine

For the Topping
1/4 cup gorgonzola cheese

Method of Preparation: 
1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Using a paper towel scrape the gills from the underside of the portabella caps. Next, drizzle balsamic vinegar and season caps with salt and pepper. Bake for about 10 minutes.
3. In a large skillet sauté the garlic in 2 teaspoons of olive oil for a minute, add blanched broccoli rabe and stock. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes, cook until stock is evaporated. Set aside sautéed broccoli rabe on a plate and wash and dry the pan.
4. In the saute pan, add the fennel seeds, caraway seeds and ground coriander and toast for a minute or so until fragrant. Then add olive oil and the rest of the sausage ingredients and cook thoroughly.
5. To assemble the mushrooms, divide the chicken sausage over the 8 caps, then evenly divide the broccoli rabe and sprinkle a little cheese on each mushroom. Return to the oven for 5 more minutes.

Nutritional Information: Per serving
325 Calories; 10g Fat; 12g Carbohydrates, 4g Fiber; 46g Protein

Johnathan Zamora
The Fit Chef