One of the biggest risks of rice-stuffed portobello mushrooms is that they turn out tasting too dark and almost bland. Portobello mushrooms are delicious and offer nice body and texture, but they honestly don’t have that much flavor of their own beyond earthy and mushroomy. Rice, of course, is pretty bland too. So if you aren’t thoughtful about how you combine the two, your final dish will fall flat.
This recipe incorporates lots of bright ingredients to help create a more complex set of flavors. Instead of just falling flat, the heavy darkness of the mushroom strains against the tangy brightness of sun-dried tomatoes, white wine, and goat cheese. That tension between contrasting flavors creates a delicious side dish or appetizer that you can pair with almost anything. It can be a main dish, too – just plan on two stuffed portobellos per person instead of one!
Notes on This Recipe:
Leek: after slicing and washing, you should have about 1 firmly packed cup of leek slices. A bit more or less is fine, but aim to be in that ballpark!
White wine: I use a good-quality (but not excellent) sauvignon blanc that’s bright and fruity. Feel free to use any white wine of your choice, but I recommend one that leans toward citrusy rather than grassy.
Goat cheese: if you don’t have (or like) goat cheese, feel free to substitute any other bright, tangy cheese. Feta would be the most obvious choice! I’d recommend using a little less feta than goat cheese, though, since it risks overpowering the whole dish.
Rice: you’ll need prepared, cooked rice for this dish. There’s no need to make it fresh if you already have leftovers in the fridge! The liquid in the recipe will help rehydrate day-old leftover rice.
Mushroom stems and gills: this recipe calls for mincing the stems and gills from the mushrooms and mixing them into the stuffing. This is for two reasons: to reduce waste, and to increase the mushroomy flavor. However, it gives the finished rice mixture lots of little black flecks. If you find this unsightly (I don’t, but some people do!), just skip the step of mincing and adding the stems and gills.
Timing: this recipe is really quick if you’re able to multitask! I recommend saving time by doing things like hollowing out the mushrooms while the leeks are already cooking, and the recipe is written accordingly.
Servings: this recipe makes four medium-sized rice-stuffed portobello mushrooms. Each one is a good size for an appetizer or side dish. If you want to serve this as the main course, plan on serving two per person instead of one.
Thanks to their combination of bright and earthy flavors, these mushrooms are a great appetizer or side dish for almost any meal. I would hesitate to serve them with delicately flavored fish, since the mushrooms might be overpowering. But they’ll go great with pasta, roasted vegetables, salads, steaks, chicken, lamb, and more.
Can You Make This Vegan?
Yes! You’ll only need to make two changes, and one is very minor. First, replace the butter used in sauteing the leeks with a rich, buttery olive oil (avoid anything too grassy or green-tasting). Second, omit the goat cheese on top. If I were making a vegan version, I would toast then crush some pine nuts and sprinkle that on top instead to add a bit of richness, but that’s completely optional.
Prepare your ingredients. As you get everything ready to go, the most important step is to make sure your leek slices are really clean! Leeks can hold a lot of dirt between layers. Make sure you break the layers apart and rinse them very well in several changes of water.
Cook the leeks. The goal here is to get the leeks tender and develop a bit of color on them. They’ll leave some fond (those nice browned bits) on the pan, which will add great flavor to the finished dish. You’ll then add the garlic and cook it briefly before deglazing with white wine. If you’re not familiar with this term, it means using a liquid to loosen those nice brown bits of fond, which you can then use a wooden spoon to rub off into the contents of the pan.
Prepare the mushrooms. Remember I mentioned that this recipe is quick because there’s lot of opportunity for multitasking? This is one of those times. Instead of preparing your mushroom caps in advance, you’ll do it as the leeks cook. Remove the stems and gills, trimming off and discarding the end of each stem. You’ll then brush each mushroom cap with olive oil (inside and out) and pop them in the oven to bake.
Prepare the filling. It’s time to multitask again! While the mushrooms and leeks are cooking, mince the mushroom stems and gills that you just took out of the caps. You’ll then add them to the leeks. You’ll also add most of the other ingredients. Cook the mixture for a few minutes so the mushrooms can release their moisture. At that point, you’ll add the rice and, optionally, more wine. The goal here is to get a texture and moisture level that you prefer, so feel free to play around. You can even add more rice if you want it drier!
Finish the mushrooms. If the mushrooms are really wet after baking, you can use a paper towel to dab up the extra liquid. You’ll then fill the mushrooms with the rice mixture. I like to (gently!) stretch open the caps to stuff more in, because they can shrink a bit during the roasting process. Next, you’ll top each with goat cheese and pop them back into the oven for a few minutes. This heats everything through and gives the goat cheese the chance to soften. Then garnish and enjoy!
Tip: since goat cheese doesn’t really melt like other cheeses, but instead just gets soft, you can gently press it down onto the stuffed mushroom caps immediately before garnishing and serving.
Take Your Rice-Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms to the Next Level:
Truffle goat cheese: this is super indulgent, but if you’re making these as a special treat, consider replacing the plain goat cheese with goat cheese containing truffle. The rich earthiness of the truffle will enhance the mushroom flavor and add another dimension to the dish.
Looking for something to go with these rice-stuffed mushrooms? Try my creamy butternut squash soup with cream cheese!
Rice-Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
- 4 cloves of garlic
- ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes (about 8 halves)
- ½ large leek
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- kosher salt
- ½ cup white wine (plus more)
- extra virgin olive oil
- 4 medium-sized portobello mushroom caps
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika plus extra for garnish
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- 1 ½ cups prepared/cooked rice (leftover rice works great!)
- 4 ounces goat cheese
- basil to garnish
- Prepare your ingredients. Preheat the oven to 400 F (200 C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mince the garlic. Slice the sun-dried tomatoes. Thinly slice the leek and rinse well.
- Cook the leeks. Melt the butter in a large pan. Add the leeks and ½ teaspoon salt, then saute over medium heat, stirring regularly. After 7 to 8 minutes, they should be tender and browning. At this point, add the garlic. Cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds, then add the white wine and deglaze the pan by gently scraping off any brown bits.
- Prepare the mushrooms. As the leeks cook, hollow out the mushrooms by removing the stems and gills (set aside; don’t discard). Brush the caps with olive oil, and put them on the prepared baking sheet open side up. Bake for about 15 minutes, until tender.
- Prepare the filling. As the mushrooms bake, finely mince the mushroom stems and gills. Add to the leeks, along with the sun dried tomatoes, smoked paprika, and cumin. Cook over medium heat until the mushrooms give up their juices and the whole thing starts to get wet, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir. If the mix looks very dry, add a little more white wine, up to ¼ cup. Cook the mixture for a couple minutes just to heat through. Taste and add salt if necessary.
- Finish the mushrooms. Blot any excess moisture from the mushrooms with a paper towel. Scoop the rice mixture into the mushrooms and top each with 1 ounce of the goat cheese. Return the mushrooms to the oven and bake for about 5 more minutes just to heat the goat cheese through. Sprinkle with smoked paprika, garnish with basil, and enjoy!