So this past week our merchandising instructor put us to the task of creating our own product. Specifically, a meat product made with an undervalued cut, adding value to it with some sort of cutting technique and ingredients.
We make products like these every Friday to sell in our service counter. The service counter is the only part of the shop where we sell fresh products that haven't been vacuum sealed to delay spoilage, and we only ever use it to sell these specific merchandising products.
One product, for instance, that we sell is a beef pinwheel. To be fair we sell several different types, but it's the theory that counts here. When we make our pinwheels, we often use either the eye of round or the outside round, both of which are pieces which are of little value to the public eye. They're not particularly tough or unpleasant, they just haven't gotten their chance in the sun yet. So since they're cheap and don't sell well, we use them, cutting thin slices and tenderizing them before making this Frankenstein-like sheet of stuck together meat.
Then we put in some sort of filling before rolling it up, tying it together, slicing it into cuts, and voila! You've got a relatively simple, inexpensive, easy to cook, value added product.
So what we had to do, as I was saying before getting distracted, was come up with our own products which might work in the service case. And I had fun.
Apple Stuffed Portobello Mushroom
Pork apple sausage
Roast the walnuts at 350ºF for about five minutes, or until just a hint browning can be seen. Let cool and finely chop, put to the side.
Stem the portobello mushrooms, and use a dry cloth to wipe any blemishes from the caps. Mince the stems and put aside.
Chop your green apples and shallots. Mince the sage.
In a bowl, combine the apple sausage, apples, shallots, minced mushroom, and 3/4 of the chopped walnuts. Using your hands to mix is very efficient, but also slightly sticky.
Gently palming the caps, stuff the mushrooms till they're nicely rounded. Coat in a layer of chopped walnuts.
Bake at 350ºF until they reach 72ºC internally.
Note: My apologies for the extremely rough specifications of this recipe. I've only had the opportunity to make it once, and that didn't allow for the time it'd require to take exact measurements. The same goes for the cook time, although it is a good practice in general to ensure that sausage meat is cooked internally to 72ºC to kill any unwanted microorganisms.
In my opinion, this sort of product would be bloody tasty as a breakfast dish, especially since it is so sweet.
If you wanted a somewhat more savoury product, you could try frying up some bacon bits and mixing those in with the sausage before stuffing the mushrooms. If you opted to do that, I'd also recommend using hazelnuts instead of walnuts.
I know that sounds weird, but the hazelnuts were actually my first choice while I was making the product. Only thing was, I also had bacon, and without that salty punch the hazelnuts made the product too sweet.