Pop quiz: what’s the perfect bite with a glass of wine?
The answer: these baby bella mushrooms stuffed with hazelnuts, kale, and a mountain of grated Gruyere. Pour me a big glass of pinot and I could seriously devour the entire tray myself.
I’m not a huge fan of gut-busting appetizers that fill you up before the main meal. That’s why I love these mushrooms—they are super savory and satisfying, but after three or four you will still be hungry for dinner.
Toasted nuts, garlicy greens, and gooey cheese—oh, and did I mention that they are gluten-free? FTW.
Let’s talk about that wine for a sec. I’ve somehow become the “wine expert” for my family and friends. But I feel like an imposter. I mean, sure, I worked at a wine bar while in grad school, and yes, I write about food, but I’m far from a sommelier! Yet inevitably, every time we are at a restaurant, the wine list is handed to me. “You pick,” everyone says. Gulp.
But I do know what I like. And one thing I love is wine from Oregon.
I always recommend Oregon wines for Thanksgiving for three reasons. One, it’s nice to drink American wine on the quintessential American holiday. Two, Oregon produces outstanding pinot noir, and pinot noir pairs very well with turkey. And three, Oregon wines are crowd pleasers. Whereas oaky chardonnay is polarizing (either you love it or you don’t), and huge cabernets are too expensive to buy in bulk, Oregon wines will appeal to everyone and are affordable.
This year my family will be pouring both white and red. For white, I love pinot gris from Willamette Valley Vineyards or Raptor Ridge. These wines are lush and full-bodied with ripe citrus and tropical fruit flavors and a long finish. They are pretty easy on the wallet, too, ranging from $16 to $20 a bottle. White wines can often feel too “summery” for holiday meals, but elegant, rich pinot gris is always a great choice.
For red, we’re having pinot noir of course 🙂 . Willamette Valley Vineyards and Raptor Ridge have great bottles ranging from about $22 to $55. The wines are silky smooth with bright acidity and berry and spice flavors. The Willamette Valley 2012 Bernau Block is a splurge ($55), but it has amazing, complex notes of smoke and tobacco. It’s so worth it for a special occasion.
Do stuffed mushrooms count as a special occasion? Let’s just say yes and go with it.
These stuffed mushrooms with hazelnuts, kale and Gruyere are versatile and wine-friendly. They pair especially well with pinot noir and pinot gris. Did you know that Oregon produces 99% of the United States hazelnut crop? But I digress…You’re not here for an agriculture lesson.
You’re here for these. ^^^
- 1 1/2 pounds baby portobello mushrooms (look for bug, stuffing-sized ones)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme (optional)
- 1 1/2 cups finely chopped kale
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
- 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, finely chopped
- 3/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick spray. Pop the stems out of the mushroom caps and set aside for later. Bake the caps, stem side down, for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer the caps to a paper-towel lined plate to drain any excess moisture. Line the baking sheet with a new piece of foil and spray with nonstick spray.
- Finely chop the reserved mushroom stems. Heat the oil in a medium nonstick skillet. Add the mushroom stems, garlic, and thyme (if using) and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the kale and cook until wilted, about 3 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the lemon zest, hazelnuts, and Gruyere. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Arrange the mushroom caps stem side up on the baking sheet. Spoon the filling into the caps, filling them generously. Bake fragrant and golden, 8 to 10 minutes.
- I finely chopped my hazelnuts by pulsing them a few times in the food processor.