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Last week, I had the great fun of preparing a surprise birthday dinner for a friend—a multi-course meal made in my kitchen and then secretly delivered and set up at his home while he was out golfing.  His wife Lizz and I conspired together over the week to work out the menu and logistics (the transport across town in my Kia—which is NOT a catering van—included soup and a layer cake; the timing involved the arrival of out-of-town guests and the previously mentioned golf game) and then we set our plan in motion.

As we were menu-planning, the first thing she requested (and one of the only things we didn’t change) were stuffed mushrooms.

Stuffed mushrooms occupy a hallowed place at both of our tables.  We LOVE them, and want them at every major celebration.  For us, they can be appetizer, garnish, and side dish—all at the same meal!  Any left over?  We polish ’em off after dessert has worn off.

Yeah, they’re just that good.

Because I use Facebook as kind of a plaything (bear with me here…I promise the mushrooms and Facebook are related), that day I changed my cover photo on Facebook to a picture of those fat little caps about to morph in the oven from fungus to fabulous!  Unfortunately, more than one person clicked on it and was disappointed that there was no recipe attached to the photo.  So, to those folks, I apologize, and this post is for you!  

Now, a for a bit of a disclaimer. Normally I probably wouldn’t do a post like this, because the number of steps and ingredients involved makes it seem harder to make than it is.  It’s also not something that is very kid-friendly, unless your children like mushrooms, so it’s really sort of a ‘special occasion’ dish.

These are NOT complicated, but they are time-consuming and a little labor-intensive. They can be made ahead of time though, so if you have a little time—and you want to make a very memorable meal—give these a try.

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The recipe is in Volume One of Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”, one of my most beloved cookbooks.  My own copy has heirloom status in my kitchen—it’s the 1971 copy (complete with  pages well-used and flecked with mushroom bits) that we used in the kitchen at The Waywith Inn in Sonoma, California, where the ‘Champignons Farcis’ were on the menu there.  By the way, that’s the building that now is home to ‘The Girl and the Fig’, which, if you are ever in Sonoma, you need to eat there!  Really!  It is one of my very favorite places to eat—gorgeous, creative, and oh-so-wonderful food—but that would be another post altogether!

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It must be Mushroom Monday (we’re having a risotto tonight made with some           beautiful wild Chantrelles—thank you Patty!) so here is the recipe for Julia Child’s stuffed mushrooms—happy autumn and enjoy!


Champignons Farcis  (Stuffed Mushrooms)
Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck
Volume One

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

12 fresh mushroom caps 2 to 3 inches in diameter, stems removed and set aside
2 to 3 Tb melted butter
A shallow, lightly buttered roasting pan
salt & pepper

3 Tb finely minced onions
2 Tb butter
1 Tb oil
3 Tb minced shallots or green onions (I think shallots are best)
stems from the mushroom caps, finely minced and squeezed in a towel to extract their juice

Optional: 1/4 cup Madeira (I used Marsala,and you could also use white wine)

3 Tb fine, white, dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Gruyere or high quality Swiss cheese (I use Jarlsberg Swiss for this)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 Tb minced parsley
1/2 tsp tarragon
salt & pepper
2 to 3 Tb whipping cream

3 Tb grated Swiss cheese (or Gruyere)
2 Tb melted butter

Brush the mushroom caps with melted butter. Place them hollow side up in the roasting pan. Spring lightly with salt and pepper.

Saute’ the onions in butter and oil for 3 to 4 minutes without browning. Then add the shallots or green onions and mushroom stems. Saute’ over moderately high heat, stirring frequently, until they begin to separate from each other and brown lightly, about 6 to 8 minutes.

Add the (optional) Madeira and boil it down rapidly until it has almost entirely evaporated.

Remove the pan from the heat, and mix in the bread crumbs, cheeses, parsley, tarragon, and seasonings. A spoonful at a time, blend in just enough cream to moisten the mixture but keep it sufficiently stiff to hold its shape in a spoon (be careful not to add too much cream here or the stuffing will flatten in the caps). Correct seasoning.

Fill the mushroom caps with the stuffing. Top each with a pinch of cheese and drops of melted butter. (You can prepare these ahead to this point).

Bake in upper third of a preheated, 375 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until caps are tender and stuffing has browned lightly on top.