A Seed of Hope for Thanksgiving
This year Thanksgiving will be a difficult time for many people who are separated from their families. One way to bring families closer is by sharing recipes that have been passed down through generations. Whenever I think of my family, our stuffed mushroom recipe comes to mind. Everyone in my family makes them.
It was the night before Thanksgiving and I was busy preparing the stuffed mushrooms. Our family tradition was to include them on our table every year. Everyone loved these savory delights, smothered in Parmesan cheese and garlic that simply melted in your mouth.
I pulled some lovely, large white mushrooms out of the refrigerator with great enthusiasm. Next, I grabbed some fresh green onions to chop. I retrieved fresh grated Parmesan cheese, and breadcrumbs, garlic, and butter. Then I reached in the refrigerator for fresh parsley and it wasn’t there. My heart sank. I had forgotten to buy the parsley. It was after 11 pm the night before Thanksgiving. The grocery stores were closed. What was I going to do? The fresh parsley added a lot of flavor and color to the dish. Dried parsley would not be the same.
Disappointed, I seated myself at the kitchen table and put my head in my hands. I’d tried so hard that year to prepare. A week in advance, I planned out the entire Thanksgiving meal for my daughter, her fiancé, and an old friend so that things would run smoothly. Everything had been going well until now. I rose to my feet and checked in the spice cabinet to see if we had any dried parsley. Of course, we had everything but the ingredient I needed.
Then a thought flashed in my mind.
Look in the garden.
That’s impossible, I thought. It was the northeast at the end of November. The growing season was over. I’d picked my last tomato a few weeks ago and there had been a frost. There was just no way.
But the thought persisted. Look in the garden.
I threw on my heavy jacket and some sneakers and headed outside to the yard in the dark. All my tomato plants were long gone, my cilantro had vanished, and my basil and pepper plants were dead. I wasn’t surprised, because it was almost December, and this was to be expected. With little hope, I headed over to where I had planted some parsley in early spring and looked down. I couldn’t believe it. Everything else in the garden was dead, except for some lush, beautiful, bright green Italian parsley. It was the only ingredient I still needed for my stuffed mushroom recipe. I could not believe my eyes. I picked a handful and brought it into the kitchen. It was gorgeous and fresh.
I washed it, chopped it up, and made the stuffing. By midnight I had finished stuffing the mushrooms.
On Thanksgiving Day, things were hectic. I ran around in an apron, rushing through all my last-minute tasks, while my daughter and I worked frantically to get our feast on the table. The timing of the finished dishes wasn’t perfect, but no one cared. The mushrooms were delicious and a huge hit with the crowd.
I had a lot to be thankful for that day, but most of all for the mysterious appearance of parsley, just when it was needed.
Our Family Stuffed Mushroom Recipe
1 1/2 pounds medium white mushrooms
1/4 cup chopped onion or green onions
1 whole stick butter (1/4 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced
One 6 oz can of crab meat
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup parmesan or romano cheese, grated
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon dry basil
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Chop ends off mushrooms. Wash them. Gently remove stems from mushrooms and chop them finely. Place the mushroom caps on a greased baking pan.
Melt the stick of butter in a saute pan over low to medium heat. Add chopped mushroom stems, chopped onions, and chopped garlic and saute for 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in crab meat until mixed in. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and turn off the heat.
Wait until the mixture cools a little and stuff all the mushroom caps on the tray. Bake filled side up at 350 degrees for 25–30 minutes or until hot.
Happy Thanksgiving all!