I was finally home for the holidays! After a delayed flight and hours of travel, I was finally able to walk up the steps to my familiar yellow home with the sea air light on the wind.
My parents had Christmas dinner all planned out, but I couldn’t just not do my part and not cook at all while I was home. So I offered to make dinner the day before Christmas Eve while it was still just the three of us. They jumped at the chance and agreed on letting me take the lead and surprise them.
Chicken Stuffed Marinated Portabella Mushrooms
For Marinated Mushrooms
3 Whole Portabella Mushrooms
⅓ C Sesame Oil
⅔ C Soy Sauce
⅔ C Rice Vinegar
1 Tbsp Sugar
3 Cloves Garlic, Chopped
1 Tsp Pepper
3 Chicken Thighs
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Pepper
3 Tbsp Butter, Melted
½ Onion Diced
1 Red Pepper, Diced
¼ C Parmesan Cheese
1 Tbsp Red Wine
1/4 C Marinade
1 Tsp Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp Butter
Yields 3 Servings
At the beginning of the day or the night before, take the time to prep your mushrooms. We want to give these some time to absorb the flavor of the marinade. In a mixing bowl combine sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, pepper, and chopped garlic. Make sure to taste to determine if the flavor profile is right for you, I tend to prefer my marinades (as well as my dressings) to be heavier on the acidic side and you may prefer a more subtle flavor. Play around, you can always save it if you make too much.
Take a dry paper towel and gently brush off excess dirt off the tops of the mushrooms. We never want to wash mushrooms with water, they are extremely porous and will take on any moisture. No one wants a watery mushroom we want only our marinade imprinting on our portabellas.
Once your mushrooms are clean and your marinade is to your liking place both into a large ziplock bag, making sure all mushrooms are covered when laid flat. Store in the refrigerator.
After at least 4 hours have passed take the portabellas out of the refrigerator and leave on the counter until it is time to use them, bring them back to room temperature.
Begin by preheating your oven to 350℉ and leaving your chicken out to reach room temperature, placing a rack in the center of the oven.
Since I was going to be baking my chicken first and later quickly sautéing the shredded pieces I wanted to take every precaution to not end up with dry chicken. I believe that butter can save anything and I planned on rubbing some under the skin of the chicken. The only thing, my parents don’t leave butter out and all the sticks were hard as rocks from the refrigerator. So, I popped some in a bowl and let the microwave do its magic. I no longer use a microwave and therefore have forgotten its amazing power, and melted the butter completely. No fear, I ended up soaking each thigh in the pool of melted butter, flipping to get complete coverage, and I have no regrets.
Once your oven is heated and your chicken is effectively buttered, cook in a cast iron for 35 minutes. I used to bake all my chicken on a foiled cookie sheet until I got my very first cast iron and I haven't looked back. They are easy to clean and the fat that comes off your chicken makes a wonderful season for the pan when you are all finished. There is also less waste and fewer things to buy for your kitchen that you will only throw away.
Once your chicken is cooked remove from the oven and cast iron to allow to cool, once cool enough to handle pull the meat off the bone. During this cooling process place your cast iron with all your wonderful chicken drippings and place it over high heat on the stove. Once warm enough to bounce a drop of water across the surface carefully place in each mushroom cap. Mushrooms are a soft vegetable and will only need 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove from the heat and onto a separate pan.
In your extremely flavorful cast iron sauté onions and pepper, once your onions turn translucent add in your pulled chicken. We don’t need to cook the chicken any more just heat it back up. Mix together and fill your mushroom caps. Top with grated parmesan cheese and place under the broiler for 2 minutes. Keep an eye on it and remove once cheese begins to brown.
What to do with all that flavor in the pan?? Make a sauce of course. Deglaze your cast iron by bringing ¼ C of your mushroom marinade, 1 Tbsp of butter, 1 Tbsp of red wine and 1 tsp of brown sugar to a rolling simmer for 5 minutes. Don’t forget to scrape all the goodies off the bottom of your pan.
Pour over top of your mushroom after they are removed from the oven and enjoy with a side salad of spinach, arugula, toasted pumpkin seeds, and parmesan cheese.