My mother always made a ham at Easter. She cut crisscross marks all over, slathered it in mustard and brown sugar, sometimes varying the topping. One of my first jobs was putting the little whole cloves in each intersection of the cuts. Toward the end of baking, she adorned the entire ham with pineapple rings with little Maraschino cherries in the middle. As everything baked, she basted the whole ham with the juices and they caramelized beautifully in the high heat. You remember this, right? Everyone made it this way.
The best part was the pineapple
I never liked ham, but I loved the beautifully browned pineapple and cherries!
This dish is a little bit pineapple ham topping, and a little bit mom’s stuffed porkchops, which she made simply by mounding the stuffing on top so it got nice and crispy. That dish has a lot of taste memories for me too, as I imagine for many, and is pretty to present as well.
An amazing flexible dish
Do you have someone coming for the holidays that has a dietary restriction? This one is pretty flexible. It’s a perfect dish for vegetarians and vegans, and you can use gluten-free bread for the stuffing if need be. Dairy free is easy, just use any favorite plant milk.
Fresh is best, but use what’s best
I used a lovely fresh pineapple here, but you can substitute canned in natural juices if you like. It’s better to use a sweet canned pineapple than an underripe fresh one.
A bonus from this recipe is some luscious mushroom stock for the freezer made from the scraps.
Pineapple Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
- 4 portobello mushrooms, cleaned
- Four pineapple rings
- 1 tbsp. brown sugar
- Neutral oil
- Pinch of cloves
- 4 cherries, fresh or jarred
- 4 slices whole wheat bread, chopped
- ½ cup milk of choice
- 1 egg or egg substitute
- 1 medium onion, diced
- ½ cup sweet peppers, diced
- 1 stalk celery, minced
- 1 large clove garlic, pressed
- ½ tsp. Bell’s or other poultry seasoning
- 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
- Another tbsp. of brown sugar
- 1 tbsp. fruity olive oil
Clean the mushrooms of their gills and stems and neaten up the edges if necessary. Place the mushroom parts in a saucepan with a quart of water and put on the stove to simmer. You’ll also add the trimmings of the onion, peppers, and celery to the pan.
Place the mushrooms in a greased baking dish.
Heat a grill pan to medium hot. Brush the pineapple rings with oil and lightly sprinkle with the brown sugar, and just a smidge of ground cloves. Place prepared side down in the hot pan and quickly brown the rings. Prepare the second side, flip and brown it as well. This will only take a few minutes. Toss the cherries in the pan to brown for a minute as well, then set all the fruit aside for the moment.
Place the bread cubes and milk in a bowl. The bread should soak it all up.
Heat a skillet to medium high, add a bit of oil, and sauté the onion, peppers, and celery just until soft. Season with salt and pepper, add the garlic and Bell’s, and cook for about a minute. Set aside to cool a bit.
Add the egg to the bread and toss in the onion mixture. Add a bit more salt and pepper, and mix well.
Mix the remaining tablespoon of brown sugar with the Dijon and olive oil and brush the inside of each mushroom. Place a pineapple ring on each and mound generously with the stuffing. Drizzle with olive oil.
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, then turn the heat up to 425 for an additional 20 minutes, or until the top is nice and brown and stuffing is firm.
Plate and top with your cherries!
Bonus Mushroom Stock: Strain the simmering mushroom stock and save for another dish, or freeze.
Cooking notes: It would have been lovely to present this with the grilled pineapple on top, but then the stuffing would not get nice and crispy, so I decided to caramelize the rings first and place them under the stuffing so I would have that distinctive flavor. If you don’t like your stuffing crispy, and some don’t, add the stuffing directly to the mushrooms, omit the grilling of the pineapple, just season them as directed and place on top of the stuffing. They will caramelize in the oven.
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