Stuffed Mushrooms with Cameron Hughes Wine

Thank you Cameron Hughes for sponsoring this post. Capture the celebratory spirit of the holidays, and toast to the season with Cameron Hughes wine!

One of my favorite appetizers in the world are stuffed mushrooms. They can be of any kind. But paired with another fav, the glorious Thanksgiving side dish I go crazy for; stuffing, the combination is deliciously lethal. But anything that goes perfectly well with a nice hors-d'oeuvre is a really nice glass of wine. Exceptional wine, extraordinary value. Great wine doesn't have to be expensive and Cameron Hughes wine's mission is simple: Buy the best possible wine for the best possible price. Which is why I'm so happy to partner with this San Francisco-based wine company founded by Cameron Hughes! In today's post, I'm sharing my thoughts on three different bottles of wine from this brand including my very own quick and easy stuffed mushroom recipe.

The stuffed mushroom recipe literally consists of only 3 items, minus the butter and boiling water. Aside from that, all you need are white mushrooms, sweet Italian sausage (or any sausage you'd like to try it with), and Stove Top's 'Savory Herbs' stuffing. I do know how to make homemade stuffing, which I do almost every Thanksgiving, but it does require more time and it does always taste better cooked in the bird. All that flavor you're missing out on! But sometimes, for something simple and painless this recipe takes less than an hour to prepare + make on top of going well with either a red or white wine. 

photos + recipe by ©   Suzanne Spiegoski

photos + recipe by © Suzanne Spiegoski

Stuffed Mushrooms

Ingredients:

24 oz fresh whole white mushrooms (about 28)

1/2 lb bulk spicy Italian sausage, cooked and drained

1 box Stove Top 'Savory Herbs' stuffing

Directions:

Heat oven to 375°F. Remove stems from mushroom caps; discard stems.

On an ungreased 15x10-inch pan with sides, place mushrooms, stem-side down. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until they just start to release their juices. Remove mushrooms from pan; drain. Remove any liquid from pan.

In a medium bowl, mix Stove Top (cooked) and sausage until well blended. Divide and spoon filling into mushroom caps, mounding slightly. Place mushrooms in the same 15x10-inch pan.

Bake 13 to 18 minutes or until golden brown on top and heated through.

My friends and I first tried the Chardonnay. The super fresh nose of honeysuckle, pear, and apple gains weight and complexity with a bit of air, adding papaya and orange creamsicle to the mix. Creamy and supple on entry, this wine really hits the “umami” button, with rich orange sherbet and vanilla notes riding that honeyed beam of acidity I find so thrilling about the Chardonnays from this region. Robust yet wonderfully complex even at this young age, it finishes in long waves of ripe fruit and creamy vanilla. Yum.

Next up is the beautifully balanced, complex Pinot Noir that will have broad appeal, providing ample punch but also carefully delineated flavors. Pale ruby in the glass, this Pinot starts with rose petal and earthy black cherry on the nose, opening up to reveal the warmer plum and brown baking spice notes with hints of pepper. Ample yet very refined on the palate, with perfect balance and emerging complexity that will definitely improve in the short term as this opens up in the bottle over the next month or two before settling in for long-term aging. Rich and concentrated on the palate with pretty yet ripe plum mingling peppery spice notes, this wine has plush texture and balance in a long, smooth, harmonious finish.

And lastly, no expense spared, icon-level winemaking. Aged in 50% new French oak, this opaque black wine is textbook, classic Rutherford Cabernet. Sumptuous and suave on the nose, it features a gorgeous mélange of blackberry, cherry, cassis, dark chocolate and mint underpinned with graphite and mineral wrapped in lavender florals. The palate is juicy and succulent, with red and black fruit and a finely knit but resounding kirsch/mocha punch. I have to say out of the three, the reds were my favorite, especially the Pinot Noir. What kind of wine do you normally drink with an appetizer? 

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

LOVE & XX'S,

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Our Thanksgiving Spread

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope your day was filled with warmth, love & full bellies! I am thankful for every day. Every sunrise or sunset I get to see makes me filled with gratitude. However I'm thankful most for my husband, Gilles and our fur baby, MaQ. They are my family and without them I'm not sure where I would be today. Their love makes each day worth getting up for. I love these two more than anything else in the world. Thank you both for always having my back.

Today's post is all about my cook-a-thon from yesterday's feast! I've been cooking our turkey's for the past 7 years and I must admit, this year's turkey was the best yet! I got a decent-sized bird to last us for days, just shy of 14 pounds! I panicked the first time I handled a turkey. The idea of cooking the darn thing was intimidating enough, let alone preparing all the side dishes and appetizers, cocktails, etc. Secondly, I was honestly grossed out. But now, with persistent practice in the kitchen, I prep faster and with more confidence, therefore with much more ease. It's a breeze now and I relish the idea of cooking a 20+lber one day, ha ha! This year was also the first time where I never felt overwhelmed! My cooking skills are improving, and I'm so happy to share with you my progress thus far! Here are a few tricks of the trade I've learned from the many Thanksgiving dinners I've made in the past years:

ALWAYS PREP IN ADVANCE! I can't tell you how many times I was that dingdong who'd rush to the market on the day of Thanksgiving. BAD Suz! BAD. Life is continuously hectic in New York, and I never could seem to manage to prepare anything beforehand and made everything on the actual day! This year in particular, I bought everything I needed the day before. Lol. I also made the pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving Eve, which definitely helped take off a little pressure from all the cooking on the day of.

BUTTER, BUTTER & MORE BUTTER. What's the secret to French cooking? That's right, folks, the more the better. If you want your turkey to have a super moist, rich taste, the key is where you put the butter. I like to season mine first with a variety of herbs & seasonings, then take the mixture and place it under the skin. The trick is to not to rip the entire skin off though. I will poke a hole through each end on both sides, and will especially be generous with the butter when it comes to the breast. I put most of the butter in this section because this part of the turkey has a tendency to be the most dry.

COVER TURKEY WITH FOIL. Remove the foil when there is only 1 hour left to finish cooking the bird. This is the time to baste the turkey from the cooked juices, I usually try to do this every 10-15 minutes (for an hour), giving it a nice brown on the skin. Doesn't it look delicious?!

USE UNFLAVORED DENTAL FLOSS TO TIE THE LEGS. It's easy to remove and even easier to tie if you have an extra pair of hands. (Thanks, hubby bear for the awesome teamwork!) I'm not sure what everyone else uses, but I've been using this method for years and it's never failed to secure them tightly!

A VARIETY OF SIDES GOES A LONG WAY. Some of my favorite trimmings are mashed potatoes and stuffing (or dressing as the South calls it). I could literally survive on the stuff! But you never know who's going to show up, so it's a good thing to mix it up and try different and new recipes. I also made my version of candied yams & apples, which is on the sweeter side comparatively to the other dishes. Salad is also a great starter. I mixed mine with mushrooms, red & yellow peppers, onion, cucumbers, tomatos and shredded carrots. I also will normally have some kind of bread at the table but I totally forget about it in the photo! Last are the cranberry sauce and green beans which are always winners.

HOW TO GET THE FLUFFIEST MASHED POTATOES. A whisk! Just whip those taters up like you're whisking eggs and it'll be the airiest potatoes of your life! Secret's also in the right amount of butter and milk. Don't forget the salt too!

APPEARENCE DOES COUNT. Any kind of decorative effort brings liveliness to a place/setting. Whether it's flowers, funky-looking squash and pumpkins, or a fabulous table runner, I try to keep the spread looking simple yet appealing. Plus, you'll still have all your decorations after which will still keep your place looking fun and festive, unless you like to jump into Christmas right away.  :)

What are some of your favorite tricks for Thanksgiving dinners? Favorite sides? What about your least favorite dish you still come across? Like fruitcake during Christmas? Ha ha! Have a safe rest of your Black Friday and enjoy the Holiday weekend! <3

Love & xx's,

maQ + suz