These mushrooms are a little more complicated than your average stuffed mushrooms, but the result is simply divine. The combination of mushroom, artichoke hearts and onion all wrapped in bacon creates a simply magical layering of flavors.
As always, click an image to see the larger version.
12 medium-small Crimini mushrooms (about 1 ½" diameter)
12 slices Bacon, sliced thick
12 Red pearl onions (about 3/4" diameter)
1 can (15 oz) Artichoke hearts, drained
3 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp Garlic salt
1 tsp Ancho chile powder
1/2 tsp Cayenne chile powder
Fresh ground black pepper
Drain the artichoke hearts well. Dice them to about 1/3" until you have about one cup. Put the diced artichokes in a small bowl and add the olive oil, and both kinds of chile powder. Mix well and set aside.
Remove the stems from the mushrooms and use a teaspoon to gently hollow them out. You want to remove all of the dark gills and scrape down until you just start to see the white flesh. Fill each cap to just a little past level with the artichoke filling. Do not pack the stuffing more than just enough to fill the cap.
Slice off both ends of each pearl onion. Gently peel off the paper and the first layer of flesh. This is a little tedious, so be patient. Push one peeled onion into the stuffing of each mushroom cap, leaving half of each onion exposed. Sprinkle each cap moderately with garlic salt.
Use about 4/5 of a slice of bacon to wrap each mushroom as shown in the picture. You need the ends of the bacon to overlap by about an inch. Pin the ends of the bacon together with a toothpick as shown.
Make four small equally spaced slices in the part of the bacon that extends above the top of each mushroom. This will allow the bacon to form around the top of the mushroom.
Sprinke each mushroom moderately (or to taste) with black pepper.
Put the mushrooms on an oiled broiler pan and into a preheated 350º oven. Bake for approximately 90 minutes, or until the bacon around each mushroom is just barely crisp.
Put the mushrooms on a serving platter, removing the toothpick from each one. To make the toothpick removal easier, spin it between your index and second finger (like you would wind a watch) while you pull it out.
Serve and enjoy these while you can, because they won't last long.
Tip: Here is a much simpler and less time-consuming way to peel the pearl onions.
Idea: These would be excellent with a half-and-half mixture of lump crab meat and artichoke.
Note: Of course you could do these on the grill with indirect heat, but I would not recommend smoking them (gasp). I think it would be way too easy to overpower the flavors.