Thanksgiving gives us the opportunity to use earthy, rich, spicy flavors in our food and cocktails. Think smokey, honey, cherry, bourbon and a twist of winter citrus in front of a roaring fire.
First, the appetizer…
Spicy Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms With Aged Gouda Cheese Sauce
Makes 10 appetizer servings (2 stuffed mushroom caps per serving)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
1/2 pound mild pork sausage
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons minced red onion
Place vegetable oil in a frying pan. Place pan over medium heat and add sausage. Brown sausage and crumble in pan. Add red onion and cook over medium-low heat until onion is soft and transparent. Remove from heat.
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Add panko breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese to sausage. Stir to combine all ingredients. Whisk egg into sausage mixture. Make sure all ingredients are well combined.
20 baby portobello mushrooms, stems removed and center (stem side) hollowed out with a spoon.
Stuff mushrooms with sausage mixture, gently pressing sausage mixture into the hollowed out stem end of the mushroom and mound the mixture on top of the mushroom. Place stuffed mushrooms in a shallow baking pan. Bake stuffed mushrooms in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 20 minutes.
While stuffed mushrooms are baking, prepare Aged Gouda Cheese Sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
1/4 pound aged Gouda cheese, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon medium Peri-Peri Sauce or your favorite hot sauce (more may be added to taste – but add carefully…more can always be added, but once it’s in the sauce it cannot be removed!)
Melt butter in a saucepan. Whisk in flour. Whisk in one half of the milk. Add red chili flakes, aged Gouda cheese, Peri-Peri Sauce and the rest of the milk. Stir to combine all ingredients. Continue to heat over medium low heat and stir until cheese melts. Once the cheese melts remove from heat.
Once the mushrooms have finished baking, remove from oven. Place mushrooms in individual ramekins. Pour aged Gouda cheese sauce over the mushrooms. Place ramekins under the broiler until the cheese sauce is lightly browned and bubbly. Serve immediately.
It is so easy and delicious to mix a cocktail with hand-crafted Bittermilk Cocktail Mixes (available on-line or at Fresh Market). We’ve invited friends to Thanksgiving who love Whiskey Sours so I am going to surprise them with Bittermilk Smoked Honey Whiskey Sours served over an ice sphere with Fabbri Amarena Cherries. These cherries are a dark red variety with a sweet and slightly bitter flavor that are preserved in a rich syrup made from the juice of the same fruit. They are sold in a decorative pottery jar on-line or locally (Roanoke, VA) at Tinnell’s Finer Foods. Seriously delicious!
We’ve revived this old classic by smoking honey over bourbon barrel staves. Bitter orange peel and lemon make for a slightly tart and smoky cocktail. Honey adds a nice frothy head when shaken vigorously. Mixes best with bourbon but swap it out for tequila to make a slightly smoky Honey Margarita. Shake equal parts Bittermilk No.3 + Whiskey with heavy amounts of ice. Fresh Lemon Juice, Water, Bourbon Barrel Smoked Georgia Honey, Florida Golden Cane Sugar, Fresh Orange Peel
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