Go Day-to-Night with Firebirds’ Winter Features

Firebirds Winter Features are available now through January 3, 2017 – don’t miss out!

Firebirds Wood Fired Grill just launched their Winter Features, which means you’ve got some delicious decisions to make.

Keep it day-time casual and stop by for a drool-worthy Bleu Cheese Burger – pepper crusted and topped with bleu cheese sauce and port wine-sautéed portabella mushrooms.

Firebirds Winter Features Bleu Cheese Burger

Or, do date-night right with delectable Wood Grilled Twin Filets – topped with port wine-sautéed portabella mushrooms and served with roasted Brussels sprouts, squash and sweet potatoes.

Firebirds Winter Features Twin Medallion Filets

Lucky for you, there’s time for both: Firebirds Winter Features run through January 3, 2017. Find a Firebirds near you.

Savor the Flavors of the Season with Billy Parisi’s Sausage and Mushroom Stuffed Acorn Squash

If you’re looking for a festive and seasonal appetizer for your holiday feasts, try Chef Billy Parisi’s Sausage and Mushroom Stuffed Acorn Squash – simple and loaded with flavor. 

Sausage and Mushroom Stuffed Acorn Squash Overhead

I often say I love summer produce the best with its abundance of vine fruits and vegetables, until I sink my teeth into root winter vegetables like this acorn squash – stuffed with sausage and mushrooms.  Whether it’s that delicious savory nutty flavor from fall squashes or the heartiness of root vegetables, there’s something about winter produce that really has helped me appreciate the season.  Regardless of which seasonal produce you prefer, there is no doubt that mushrooms can help enhance the flavor.  The best part about this recipe is that you could use shiitake mushrooms, portabella mushrooms or buttons, like I did, and it will still be delicious due to mushrooms’ versatility.

Stuffing acorn squashes is nothing new, but changing up the stuffing to your desire is.  I’ve seen meat sauces with meatballs, ground turkey, you name it!  I wanted to create something that represented fall with tons of balanced flavor.  The combo I came up with is Italian sausage, apples, brown rice, finely minced button mushrooms, bread crumbs and herbs.  You’ve got salty from the sausage, savory from the herbs, a little sweet and tart from the apples and, of course, umami from the mushrooms.  Not to mention all of that goodness is stuffed up in an acorn squash half and baked in a brown sage butter sauce.

When finely mincing the mushrooms, you can either do it with a knife or put them in a food processor and process until they are to the minced consistency.  I prefer the latter, as it saves a ton of time so you can focus on everything else.  Once the mushrooms are finely minced, mix them in a bowl with the other ingredients.  Now before you stuff up the squash, be sure to scoop out the seeds and season the inside with salt and pepper.

Once they were stuffed up, I added a few more panko crumbs to the top and then off to the oven.  While they were baking, I cooked some butter in a small pot until the milk fats were cooked off and turned the butter slightly brown, making brown butter.  Browning butter makes for a really tasty nutty flavor which I thought would be perfect to drizzle on top of the stuffed squash.  Once the butter is brown, I seasoned it with salt and pepper and added in some fresh chopped sage.  Super delicious!!  This Sausage and Mushroom Stuffed Acorn Squash with Brown Sage Butter is as simple as it gets and is absolutely loaded with flavor!!

Sausage and Mushroom Stuffed Acorn Squash Cut Open

Sausage and Mushroom Stuffed Acorn Squash with Brown Sage Butter Recipe

Serves 6

Ingredients

1 pint domestic mushrooms, brushed free of any dirt
1 pound loose Italian sausage
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 peeled and small diced Granny Smith apple
1 peeled and small diced Fuji apple
¾ cup panko bread crumbs + more to top off
3 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
4 acorn squash cut in half, seeds removed and seasoned
1 stick unsalted butter
Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Procedures

1. Preheat the oven to 375°.

2. Using a knife or food processor, finely mince the mushrooms to match the consistency of the sausage.

3. Add the mushrooms to a bowl and mix with the sausage, rice, apples, ¾ cup of panko bread crumbs, 1 teaspoon of sage, 1 teaspoon of thyme, salt and pepper until combined.

4. Place the squash skin side down on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper and season the inside with salt and pepper. Evenly divide the sausage-mushroom mixture and stuff it into the center of the acorn squash. Sprinkle on remaining bread crumbs and bake in the oven at 375° for 30 to 35 minutes or until the tops are lightly browned and the sausage is cooked through out.

5. In a small pot, add the butter and cook over low heat until the milk fat solids are cooked and the butter begins to turn light brown. Remove from the heat, season with salt, pepper and remaining sage and drizzle it over the cooked stuffed squash. Enjoy!

Set the Holiday Table with Mushrooms

From appetizers to dinner to breakfast, set the holiday table with mushrooms this year.

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It’s that time of year: There’s a crisp chill in the air, streets are decked with lights and your calendar is booked with holiday get-togethers. Whether you’re prepping for a five-course meal or just bringing a dish to pass, don’t forget to add mushrooms to the menu. Need an appetizer? Try our Acorn Squash Stuffed with Sausage and Mushrooms. Planning an office potluck? Opt for Blended Meatballs. Make the holidays easy with our fool-proof, crowd-pleasing, mushroom-centric dishes.

Tips for the hostess:

Food prep the day(s) before. Bake the pies, chop the veggies and assemble your ingredients ahead of time. You’ll be amazed at how much stress this will save you the day of.

Cover your bases. Be sure to include a few meat-free options such as Roasted Mushroom Parsnip Soup or Baked Brie with Crispy Mushrooms in your holiday spread.

Make it a team effort. Recruit your friend to bring the fruit salad and purchase the rolls from the bakery down the street. No need to do it all on your own!

Mushroom Recipes for the Holiday Menu

Vegetarian Mushroom Gravy

Mushroom Gravy
This umami-rich gravy is so tasty, even meat-lovers will want to cover their entire plate with it.

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Acorn Squash Stuffed with Sausage and Mushrooms
Seasonal flavors burst in this acorn squash stuffed with mushrooms, sausage, apples and sage, then baked in a brown sugar butter.

Vegetable Frittata

Vegetable Frittata
Packed with colorful veggies and goat cheese, this easy breakfast will give you energy to power through Christmas morning.

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Blended Meatballs
Throw together this crowd-pleasing appetizer with basic pantry ingredients that you already have on hand.

Mushroom Stuffing with Mushroom Gravy

Vegetarian Stuffing with Mushroom Gravy
Give your guests the gift of “yum” by giving this decedent stuffing-gravy combo a spot on your holiday table.

Italian Sausage Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Mushrooms

Italian Sausage Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Mushrooms
Hosting a NYE party? These bacon-wrapped mushrooms are sophisticated yet SO easy to make.

DC Capital Food Fight Event Recap

Council Representative Kathleen Preis attended the DC Capital Food Fight in November – an event to benefit DC Central Kitchen.

DC Capital Food Fight

More than twelve hundred guests enjoyed dueling chef battles, seventy-five restaurant stations and a Top Chef Mushroom Blend Challenge at last week’s DC Capital Food Fight to benefit DC Central Kitchen. DC Central Kitchen provides nutritious, sustainable meals and culinary job training for needy DC residents while providing award-winning healthy meals for dozens of schools within the Washington, DC school district.

DC Capital Food Fight Chefs Jose Andres and Spike Mendelsohn

Chefs Jose Andres and Spike Mendelsohn reveal mushrooms as one of the secret ingredients.

The DC Capital Food Fight featured four local chefs battling head to head, with just five minutes to prepare a dish incorporating the secret ingredients, green beans, Italian chicken sausage and curried popcorn – all with the hopes of winning the title of Capital Food Fight Champion.

DC Capital Food Fight Chefs Michael and Bryan Voltaggio

Chefs Michael and Bryan Voltaggio blend mushrooms for their blended burgers.

The night wasn’t limited to local chef challenges: Electric hosts Jose Andres and Spike Mendelsohn treated guests to a special battle – featuring notable DC Top Chef alumni Marjorie Meek-Bradley, Michael and Bryan Voltaggio and Mike Isabella – in which chefs had to prepare a blended burger (at least 25% fresh mushrooms blended with beef) in under five minutes. Chefs commented on the blend’s sustainability and meaty properties – a topic very familiar to host Spike Mendelsohn who participated in the inaugural Blended Burger Project in 2015.

DC Capital Food Fight Chefs Duff Goldman and Michael Voltaggio

Chef Duff Goldman enjoys a blended burger, while Chef Michael Voltaggio congratulates all the chefs!

While the chefs enjoyed the friendly competition, guests from the audience bid to join Chefs Duff Goldman, Rusty Hamlin and Michael Voltaggio to judge the Top Chef’s Blended Burger creations. At the end of the night, the judges couldn’t determine a winner between the teams but all were excited about the juiciness and flavor the mushrooms added to the burger. Look out for The Blend in these notable chef’s restaurants in the future!

DC Capital Food Fight Blended Burgers

Among the seventy-five stations available for guests to enjoy, mushrooms were plentiful – from mushroom dumplings and soups, to sandwiches and more. A great time was had by all, with nearly $700,000 raised for DC Central Kitchen. Congrats to all!

Good Gravy! Mushroom Gravy Recipes to Warm the Soul

It’s all about mushroom gravy recipes this holiday season.

As the weather cools and leaves begin to fall, we’ve got holiday feasts on our minds. This year, it’s all about the gravy, and mushrooms are the (not so) secret ingredient. Along with providing an extra dose of nutrients, mushrooms’ natural umami adds a savory punch without the extra sodium. Check out the recipes below to learn how to incorporate mushrooms in both main courses and gravy recipes this holiday season.

Go full veggie with this indulgent Mushroom Veggie Gravy.

Buttermilk Biscuits and Mushroom Gravy Recipes

Bulk up dishes like warm buttermilk biscuits with this hearty, meatless gravy recipe.

Mushroom Blended Meatloaf with Mushroom Gravy Recipes

True to American tradition, this savory mushroom gravy sauce is the perfect complement to blended meatloaf and mashed potatoes.

Biscuits and Beef Mushroom Gravy Recipes

Baby Bella mushrooms shine in this Mushroom Beef Gravy recipe. Tip: for perfect consistency slice the caps finely and put the stems into a food processor.

Whether you’re looking for a new gravy recipe to add to your Thanksgiving spread or are serving biscuits and gravy to hungry house guests the next morning, these recipes will do the trick. Let us know your favorite way to eat gravy in the comments below!