Broccoli-Stuffed Mushrooms

Adapted from: "Mollie Katzen's Vegetable Heaven"
Preparation time: 50 minutes (20 minutes of work)
Yield: 4 to 6 servings, depending on the context

Stuffed mushrooms were very fashionable when I was first learning to cook. They were a special treat, made with domestic mushrooms (portobellos hadn't been invented yet), and the stuffing usually consisted of something very rich, like buttered bread crumbs and cheese.

Here is a modern version of this retro concept, streamlined and de-fatted to please the Busy, Health-Minded Modern Cook (who hadn't been invented yet, either). The filling is made from tender-crisp minced vegetables with just a touch of cheese, and the now-ubiquitous portobello mushrooms can be used to make jumbo portions that are like a meal unto themselves.

1 1/2 pounds broccoli
1 small onion (about 1/4 pound)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt (possibly more, to taste)
Black pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups grated Gruyere or Emmenthaler cheese (about 3/4 pound)
4 portobello mushrooms (4-inch-diameter)
or 14 to 16 domestic mushrooms (2-inch-diameter)
  1. Shave the outer skins from the broccoli stalks with a good vegetable peeler. Cut off the topmost florets, leaving a bit of stem, so you'll have something to "plant", and set aside. Cut the shaved stems and the onion into chunks, and place them in a food processor. Process until finely minced. (You might have to do this in batches.)
  2. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a medium-large skillet with an ovenproof handle. Add the broccoli florets and a pinch of salt. Stir-fry over medium heat for just a few minutes--until the florets are bright green and tender-crisp. Transfer to a bowl, and set aside.
  3. Without cleaning it, heat the skillet again. Add another 1/2 tablespoon oil, the minced broccoli-onion mixture, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. SautÚ over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, then transfer to a bowl and stir in 1 cup of the grated cheese. Grind in some black pepper to taste.
  4. Remove and discard the mushrooms stems, and peel the mushrooms, if necessary. If you're using portobello mushrooms, scrape out the soft insides of the mushroom cap with a spoon. Divide the filling evenly among the hollowed-out mushrooms, and arrange a tight cluster of broccoli florets, facing upright, in the top of each one. Meanwhile, preheat the broiler.
  5. Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel, and return it to the stove. Turn the heat to medium, and add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil. Place the filled mushrooms in the pan, cover, and cook undisturbed for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until the mushrooms are cooked through.
  6. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the tops, and place the entire skillet under the broiler for about 3 to 5 minutes, or until the cheese is thoroughly melted and lightly browned. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.
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