Mushroom Strudel

I love a lot of things about being vegetarian, but one thing I don’t love is entrees. You know the drill: you go to a family dinner, and you eat six sides for dinner. Or worse yet, six sides plus Tofurkey. Yikes! Sure, they’re probably excellent sides, but when it comes to tasty entrees, we’re often stuck with the short end of the awesome stick.

This recipe is here to solve that problem for you.

strudel for freezing

Now, I need you all to take a deep breath, because this recipe contains an ingredient I have recently learned many people are afraid of. But don’t worry! I have an awesome method to save you from the dreaded food.

The ingredient is filo dough, which is used here to wrap the herbed mushrooms into their adorable little parcels, and I promise, it will be fine even if you tear most sheets. I know, because I did!

cooking mushrooms

Mushroom Strudel
Originally from The Complete Mushroom Book, via Leite’s Culinaria and Smitten Kitchen

1 pound mushrooms (my favorite mix is portabella plus shitake, but don’t forget to take the stems off the latter!)
1 onion*
3 T. butter
pinch of nutmeg
1 T. all-purpose flour
1/2 t. dried thyme (or sage, or use fresh if you have it, about 1 1/2 t.)
4-6 T. grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste

18 sheets frozen filo dough, defrosted (this should be about one package; leave it on the counter for an hour or so to defrost)
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter
1 egg, beaten

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Put the butter in a large skillet to melt over medium heat and mince the onion. When you’ve finished, throw the onion in with the melted butter.

Wash or wipe the mushrooms if needed to remove grit, and chop into smallish pieces, about 3/4 of an inch across. (Don’t forget to stir the onion occasionally while you’re doing this.)

Once the onion is soft, add the mushrooms and nutmeg, and turn the heat up a bit. The mushrooms will suck up all of the butter like little mushroom vacuums. Then they’ll start to soften and give off liquid. Keep cooking! It’s important to stir every few minutes here, especially if your mushrooms are more than one layer deep.

When they’ve released all of their liquid, it will start to evaporate. When most of the liquid is gone, stir in the flour, herbs, and salt and pepper, and remove from the heat. (If you stop here, you’ll still have amazing mushrooms. I ate my leftover filling on toast!)

If you’re going to cook these immediately, preheat your oven to 400 F. (If not, you can freeze them on a baking sheet and then pop them in a freezer bag once they’re frozen solid.)

Now you need some serious counter space: enough room for a sheet of filo. Lay out your filo, egg wash, and Parmesan. Melt the stick of butter in the microwave or a saucepan. You’ll also want a damp dish towel.

Put a sheet of filo in front of you, covering the rest of them with the dish towel so they don’t dry out. Starting at a long edge, brush half the sheet with butter, and then fold it lengthwise so the butter is sandwiched inside. Repeat this process, brushing half of your long rectangle with butter and then folding it over. Now you have one long, skinny piece rectangle! If there are wrinkles, try smoothing them out, but it doesn’t really matter. If there are tears, you can ignore them, because you have four layers of filo to keep things together! Hooray!

Put a spoonful of mushroom filling on one end, and top with a sprinkle of Parmesan.

strudel

Fold the top corner over so the mushroom filling is inside a triangle. Continue to fold flag-style, flipping it over the edge closest to the bottom, until you get to the very end of the dough. (It takes a few folds before the mushrooms are fully encased; before that stage, they should be considered an escape risk.) You may need to trim off uneven ends of your dough with scissors.

Place the package seam-side down on the baking sheet, brush with egg wash, and sprinkle with more Parmesan.

To serve immediately, bake for 15 minutes. If you’re freezing, bake them for more like 22 minutes at 375 so you can get the centers warm without scorching the crust.

*There is pretty much no case in which I don’t believe that the best available onion for your purposes is a sweet one, but here you’ll never see it, so you could use purple ones (which taste fine but are ugly when cooked), white, yellow, or even leeks.

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