Winter got you down? Tired of the cold and dreariness of it all? I understand. This mushroom and brie soup will wrap you snugly in its velvety smoothness and help sooth the Old Man Winter blues. It won’t make it so you can slap on a pair of Tory strappy sandals and show off your perfectly pedicured feet but I guarantee you will feel uplifted and heartened. And, besides, spring is almost around the corner. All right, maybe not quite around the corner, however, it will be here soon enough. In the meantime, tuck into this soup with a great book or movie and treat yourself kindly. This recipe calls for three pounds of mushrooms and that’s three pounds of any kind of fresh mushroom that floats your boat. I love using one pound of shiitake, (that’s all I can afford), and two pounds of button mushrooms. I purchase the button mushrooms whole and leave the stem on when roasting them. The stems of the shiitake should be removed prior to roasting due to the fact they are tough as leather. I pinch them off and discard them although some people save them for mushroom or vegetable broth. I’m not one of those people. Shiitake mushrooms are loaded with flavor; they’re quite woodsy and smoky; and I find button mushrooms to be earthy and meaty. It’s a marvelous combination. Because this soup is so luxurious and rich, I find a double cream Brie to be perfect. Triple cream tastes wonderful but is considerably more expensive so I leave it up to you. This mushroom soup is ample enough that, truly, the only addition one could possibly want is some hot, crunchy bread to dip and sop. I typically serve my mushroom soup with hot-out-of-the-oven garlic bruschetta. Yum! And the soup gets better overnight so pack up a couple of thermoses, share some with your coworkers and they’ll love you forever.
Cream of Roasted Mushroom and Brie Soup
- 3 pounds fresh mushrooms, mixed is great but pull off any woody stems
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 12 garlic cloves, peeled and rough chopped
- 2 heaping tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
- 3 generous tablespoons of flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup white wine
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 8 ounces Brie cheese, rind cut off
- salt and pepper to taste
- Pre-heat oven to 400°.
- Place mushrooms on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle the olive oil over the mushrooms, toss them with your hands until they are completely covered with the oil and spread out in an even layer.
- Roast in the oven until they begin to brown, about 45 minutes.
- In a heavy bottomed soup pot or dutch oven melt the butter over medium high heat.
- Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until they are clear.
- Add the garlic and thyme and stir.
- Add the flour and stir well. Cook for 3-4 minutes stirring constantly.
- Add the wine and chicken broth and stir until the flour has been incorporated completely and there are no lumps.
- Add the roasted mushrooms, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Use an immersion blender to puree to your liking. You can also blend this in a food processor or blender.
- Add the milk and Brie and stir until the cheese has melted.
- Taste for any needed salt and pepper and serve.
Hey, y’all! I’m going straight into this recipe without chit-chatting about having James home this weekend and getting to smother him and cook for him because he was sick with a cold nor will I regale you with details of the Miami Book Fair because I want you to have plenty of time to get your menu together for Thanksgiving. These warm and gooey appetizers are the perfect combination of sweet and savory but the best part is the dough is already made, rolled out and waiting for you in the dairy section of your grocery store. I found a new product by a company I NEVER use, Pillsbury, at the store and thought I’d try it out. Pillsbury now makes a thin and a thick pizza dough, rolled up and on parchment paper in a plastic tube alongside the boxed pie shells. I used the thin dough and it was terrific in that the dough is sturdy enough to hold the heavy cubes of cheese and fig jam unlike phyllo which seemed to always fall apart on me. The mini-bites may be assembled the night prior to baking if kept chilled in the refrigerator. Try to find a ripe piece of brie to play up its flavor. If the cheese isn’t fully developed the taste, the character, will get lost in the fig preserves. Which isn’t a bad thing…I mean, who doesn’t love figs?! And that gets me to the figs. This recipe calls for a jar of fig jam, no fresh figs to be cut. Gosh, but I love this receipt. The dough is cut into squares with a ruler and a pizza cutter and the cheese is cubed. The fig jam is already prepared and the fresh rosemary leaves, waiting in the produce department, are either pinched or clipped off the stalk. Oh, so easy peasy. Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!
Warm fig, brie and rosemary bites
- 1 10X13″ Pillsbury Pizza Dough, thin crust
- 8 ounces well-developed brie
- 1 11.5 ounce jar fig preserves, Braswell’s is great
- fresh rosemary, about 2 stalks
- Pre-heat oven to 400°. Cover a 24-cup mini-muffin tin with non-stick spray and set aside.
- Open dough on counter and, using a rolling pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut into 24 even squares.
- Firmly press each square into the muffin tin cups.
- Cut the brie into 24 cubes and press into the muffin cups.
- Cover each cube of cheese with a teaspoon of fig jam.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes. Do not over bake!
- Cool tin on a rack for 5 minutes and while cooling garnish with small sprigs of fresh rosemary.
- Serve immediately.
There’s not much better on a Friday evening than mouth-watering, delectable dinner that’s put together with ingredients you happen to have on hand. Having discovered some time ago goat brie at Trader Joe’s, I thought maybe I would incorporate it into some sort of puff pastry tart for dinner. Looks like any brie but this one has a strong, goaty flavor that’s positively sublime, and, yes, now I am an addict. If you’re not able to locate it, the combination of a small wheel of brie chopped and mixed a small amount of chevre, goat cheese, will also work quite well. I wanted a creamy backdrop to support the brie and one small container of ricotta was the perfect foil, rich and spreadable but not as gooey as mozzarella. An egg to bind, some fresh basil, zucchini ribbons, a quick drizzle of a fragrant, green olive oil and I had one gorgeous, undemanding dinner. The only fly in the ointment was neither of my boys had gotten home yet. Jimmy was speaking at some conference and James catching up with a co-worker he had worked with on a gubernatorial campaign. All fine and well but, hey, dinner’s ready! I chased away the feeling of discouragement by serving myself the prettiest part of the tart. Cut into quarters, my portion had the most browned, runny, chewy bits of cheese. Not exactly first prize but I’ll take second prize any day. I had prepared a splendid salad of leaf lettuce dressed lightly with creme fraiche; the requisite glass of Malbec had been poured. Each bite was a song of flavors. The buttery puff pastry gave a satisfying crunch as did the barely cooked zucchini. But the goat cheese was the star of that musical. Not too sharp and creamy-dreamy, the brie made its presence known in every bite. Happy Friday night to me!
Puff Pastry Tart with Goat Brie, Ricotta, Basil and Zucchini
This tart may be made with fresh baby spinach or fresh basil leaves. If you have a handful of some strong, flavorful cheese and you want to get rid of it, it’s most welcome in this dish. I’ve used the odd bits of Gruyere and even used the last quarter cup of bagged, shredded Publix brand 4-cheese Italian . One cup of marinated artichoke hearts roughly chopped is lovely, too.
- 1 puff pastry sheet, I use Pepperidge Farm, keep chilled until assembling tart
- 1 wheel goat brie 4.4 ounces, or cow’s brie with 3 or 4 ounces of chevre added
- 1 15-ounce ricotta, fat-free is great…that’s all I use in this tart
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 12-15 zucchini ribbons made with a vegetable peeler or mandolin
- fresh spinach, washed and dried, as much as you like to scatter on top, optional
- fresh basil, cut into strips, optional
- 1 cup marinated artichokes, drained well and roughly chopped, optional
- salt and pepper to taste
- olive oil to drizzle when serving
- Preheat oven to 425°.
- In a medium size bowl place a paper towel. Gently dump the ricotta cheese on the paper towel, bring the corners of the towel around the cheese and softly press all excess liquid away. Turn cheese back into the bowl and discard towel.
- Roughly cut the brie into 1/2 chunks and add to ricotta.
- Add the egg to the cheeses.
- If using spinach, basil or artichokes add to cheese/egg mixture and mix well.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Cover baking sheet with tin foil.
- Open puff pastry on floured surface.
- With a rolling-pin, use a cold wine bottle if you don’t have a rolling-pin, quickly roll puff pastry out to a 12″X15″ rectangle. Don’t fret. It doesn’t have to be perfect but you do want to keep the dough cold so move fast.
- Using your finger or a small brush and a little water paint a 1/4″ rim around the entire rectangle.
- Fold 1/4″ of dough from the edge each of the four sides of the rectangle onto the wet area to make a collar or dam, if you will, to keep in the cheese mixture. Press the dough firmly to adhere to the water painted dough.
- Cover the puff pastry evenly with the cheese mixture just up to the folded edge and smooth the top.
- Arrange the zucchini on top of the cheese, flat and on its side to resemble a lovely jumble of green ribbon.
- Bake 45-60 minutes until corners are browned and top is slightly browned.
- Cool 10 minutes before serving.