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Herbed Chèvre with Mushrooms in Phyllo Pouches

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Level: Intermediate

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Description

Cooking gourmet at home doesn’t have to be intimidating! With a little practice, anyone can master phyllo dough. These savory pouches filled with garlic, herbs, mushrooms and goat cheese dipped in spiced drawn butter are a well deserved pay-off.

Ingredients

  • 1-½ stick Unsalted Butter, Divided
  • 2 cloves Garlic, Peeled And Chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Rosemary Leaves
  • 2 teaspoons Chopped Fresh Marjoram Leaves
  • 4 cups Finely Chopped Assorted Mushrooms
  • 1-½ teaspoon Salt
  • ¼ teaspoons Ground Black Pepper
  • ½ teaspoons Chinese Five Spice
  • 4 ounces, weight Goat Cheese
  • 7 ounces, weight Phyllo Dough, Thawed
  • Chopped Fresh Chives, For Garnish

Preparation

Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté garlic until lightly browned, 1 minute. Add herbs and continue to heat, stirring constantly, for another minute. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms give up their juices and pan dries out, about 10 more minutes.

While mushrooms are cooking, heat remaining butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. When melted, whisk in Chinese five spice. Reduce heat to low to keep warm.

When mushrooms are finished cooking, remove skillet from heat and allow to cool slightly, about 3 minutes. Add goat cheese and, using a wooden spatula, break it up and mix it into the warm mushroom mixture until thoroughly combined and creamy. Set mushroom mixture aside.

Prepare phyllo dough by removing it from the package and laying it flat. Cover dough sheets with a tea towel that has been dampened with water and wrung well. (Phyllo dough dries out fast and once dry, it cannot be worked with. Keeping the dough covered with the damp cloth will prevent it from drying out.)

Very carefully peel away one sheet of phyllo dough and place it on a flat surface. Dip a pastry brush into the melted butter with the Chinese five spice, tap against the side of the pan to remove excess butter. With light, quick stokes, brush the melted butter onto the phyllo dough sheet. (The best way to do this without ripping or wrinkling the dough is to hold one side of the sheet down with your fingers while brushing it in a direction away from your fingers. If this is your first time working with phyllo dough, this may take some getting used to. Just take your time, you’ll get the hang of it!) You don’t need a lot of butter for this step, just enough to moisten the sheet. When the first sheet is completely brushed with butter, carefully remove a new sheet of phyllo dough and place it directly over the one just brushed. Repeat this process until you have four sheets stacked, but do not brush butter onto the fourth (top) sheet.

Cut stacked dough into four squares that measure about 3 by 4 inches. Repeat until you have 12 of the smaller squares. Place the squares into the cups of an un-greased muffin tin.

Fill each square with the mushroom mixture so that they are about half full. There should be about 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons in each phyllo cup. Once all of the cups are full, lightly pinch the dough together to form a purse. Leave a small opening on the top for steam to escape. You don’t want to press the dough together too tightly, just enough to nearly cover the mushroom mixture but so that the dough is still somewhat loose.

Dip the pastry brush into the melted butter. Tap off the excess, then lightly dab the tops of the purses. It is ok if the dough layers separate a bit, in fact, you want this. This will create a lighter, flakier end result. You only want enough butter on the purses so that they brown while baking, you don’t need very much—too much and the dough will become soggy.

Drain remaining melted butter through a stainer into a ramekin, discard the residue. Keep the butter warm by placing it on top of the oven as the mushroom purses bake.

Bake the purses for 15 minutes at 325ºF or until tops are golden brown. When done, remove pan from oven and let purses cool for a few minutes so that you can safely handle them. Carefully lift from the muffin tin with a teaspoon and transfer onto a serving platter. Be careful that you don’t break them! Sprinkle with sliced fresh chives and serve with the ramekin of the strained spiced butter.

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