Friday, May 8, 2009

Baked Brie and Mushrooms — 'Nuff Said

If you want to get on the invite list for all your friends' dinner parties, bring this appetizer. It's super easy to make, but will nonetheless make you look like a rock-star chef.

My mom-in-law, who happens to be an amazing chef, dropped her head to her hands and said, "I don't know that I'll ever be able to cook for you again."

She was kidding. I hope.

Their dish, photo by José Picayo, Bon Appétit, March 2009:

They totally glammed-up this photo - first, WAY more mushrooms are required and second, who leaves the thyme whole like that?

My dish, no glam:

Equipment needed:
  • Foil
  • Sharp chef's knife
  • Small sauce pan
  • Medium sauté pan
  • Spatula
  • 1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms (you should be able to find these in any grocery store produce section)
  • 2/3 cup dry red wine (use a good one for this recipe, not cooking wine)
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
  • 6 ounces crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot (about 1 large)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme (SEE? Chopped)
  • 1 13- to 14-ounce Brie (about 5 inches in diameter; can also make a smaller one for two people and reduce mushrooms)
  • 1 baguette, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (I've tried wheat and traditional white — both worked well)
What to do:

Rinse dried porcini mushrooms. Combine with red wine in a small sauce pan. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat and let soak for about 20 minutes. Strain the mushrooms, reserving the wine sauce. Roughly chop the porcini and set aside.

Melt butter in medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the crimini and shiitake mushrooms with a little salt and pepper. Sauté until brown, stirring. Add shallot and stir until soft. Add chopped porcini and strained wine. Boil until almost dry. Stir in chopped thyme and a little more salt and pepper.

Tear two large sheets of foil and mold into a make-shift bowl, about two inches larger than the Brie wheel. Unwrap the Brie. Using a sharp chef's knife cut off the top rind (note: you can eat brie rind — don't cut it all off; it will fall apart if you do). Place Brie in the foil bowl and mound the mushroom mixture on top.

**Note: if you're taking this to a friend's house or not ready to serve it right away, STOP RIGHT HERE. Cover it and store in the fridge until you're ready to serve it, but bring to room temperature before continuing.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Put the Brie-mushroom bowl on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, until Brie just begins to melt (if you poke it with your finger, it will be soft and deliciously squishy).

Transfer the heavenly dish to a platter, and serve hot with warm baguette slices.

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