Sunday, December 14, 2008

Challenge Three, Round One - Wild Mushroom Strudel

It's the last challenge of 2008! I was somehow duped by Beans (not to be confused with The Beanpole, of course) over at Mmmm...Tastes Good into making something with mushrooms. It was sneaky of her but given my recent infatuation with variations of these fun-guys I'll let it slide. In fact, just this week we'd eaten Pork Chops Marsala and Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms Caprese. The Beanpole and I were headed to an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party so the recipe needed to be cab-friendly and easy to eat. Nothing from my ever-growing collection of cookbooks and magazine stash appealed and I started to lose hope until I found this recipe for mushroom strudel. Most of the recipes I use are designed to taste great and be relatively simple to recreate and I'm using these challenges to break out of my comfort zone a little bit and learn about a new technique or flavor combination. I hadn't worked with puff pastry before and decided to take this opportunity to test myself. It's not the easiest ingredient to manipulate but with a little bit of patience and SK's easy-as-pie wrapping method they turned out beautifully! Check out Smitten Kitchen for her gorgeous photo how-to on the phyllo. You'll thank me later!

Mushroom Strudel (Smitten Kitchen)
12 to 18 sheets phyllo pastry (12 to make four large strudel, 18 to make smaller triangles)
1/2 cup butter

1 pound mixed, fresh, wild and cultivated mushrooms (we used only creminis, and ended up with plenty of flavor. If you omit the stems, start with 1.5 pounds)
1 medium onion, minced
3 tablespoons butter
Freshly grated nutmeg (optional, we skipped it)
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Leaves from 1 sprig marjoram or thyme
4 to 6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for sprinkling, if you wish (the latter amount for the minis)
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Clear a large work surface for this, big enough for two full sheets of phllyo, your egg wash, parmesan and filling–trust me, you’ll need it.

Make the filling: Make sure the mushrooms are dust- and sand-free, wash if necessary, and trim if need be. Cook the onion in the butter and, when soft, add the mushrooms with the nutmeg. Saute for 5 to 7 minutes, until liquid has been released and has partially evaporated. Add the sherry and evaporate the alcohol by cooking over low heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the flour, herbs, and some salt and pepper, and let cool. The mixture will be moist.

To make small, triangular strudel: Take one sheet of phyllo at a time from their package; cover the remaining sheets with plastic and then a damp towel, ensuring they are completely covered. Brush one half of the sheet lengthwise with butter. Fold the unbuttered side over the buttered side, carefully, smoothing out any wrinkles and bubbles but not worrying if you can’t get them all. Again, brush one half of this lengthwise (a few inch-wide column) with butter, and fold the unbuttered side over it again. You’ll end up with one long column.

Dollop a spoonful of the mushroom filling near the end and sprinkle a teaspoon of parmesan over it. Begin folding one bottom corner of the phyllo strip over the filling until it meets the opposite edge, forming a triangle, as if you were folding a flag. Place the triangle seam side down on the baking sheet, brush lightly with egg wash and sprinkle with parmesan.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Serve warm.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This looks so good! I can't wait to try it.