Did you ever have a recipe that you knew would be good, but didn’t have the ingredients to try it? We did. We saw this recipe, if you can call it that, several years ago in The Cowgirl Creamery Cooks, by Sue Conley and Peggy Smith, and knew immediately that we’d try it. But before we did, we’d have to get the ingredients.
The reason we waited so long was that we wanted to get just the right wild mushrooms: morels. We knew we’d never get them fresh, so we’d have to settle for dried, but, if you’ve ever looked at the price of dried morels, it’s a sticker shock. We hadn’t had morel mushrooms before, so making such an outlay for something we weren’t sure we’d like really put us in a quandary. Do we buy them and hope for the best? What if we don’t like them? Then we’ve wasted a bunch of money. As you can see in the recipe, late last year we just bought some, figuring that we might as well try them, and now was as good a time as any.
The original version called for an entire round of Brie cheese. That’s too much for the two of us, so we went with a wedge. Of course, you could always use another soft, creamy cheese, such as Camembert Naturally, scale up the mushrooms if you use an entire round of cheese. We chose dried morel mushrooms because we wanted a dish where we could try them pretty much unadorned; otherwise, we would’ve used something like porcini mushrooms, or in a pinch, even the standard white/brown mushrooms from the store.
Procedure in detail:
Soak mushrooms. If you’re using fresh mushrooms, obviously skip this step. Otherwise, rinse off your dried mushrooms and place them in a small heatproof bowl — we use a Pyrex measuring cup — and cover with boiling water. Let stand 20 minutes, then drain, reserving the liquid for another use. You might want to give the mushrooms a final rinse, just to make sure any sand or grit is removed. Slice the mushrooms.
Slice cheese. We’re going to stuff the brie with mushrooms, so slice the wedge of cheese in half horizontally. If you seem to have a lot of mushrooms, you can scoop out some of the cheese so they’ll fit. We didn’t have to.
Sear mushrooms. Place the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. When foamy, add mushrooms in a single layer, season with a bit of salt and pepper, and let sear, for about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir, trying to turn most of the mushrooms pieces over, and let the other side sear for about the same amount of time. Remove from heat.
Fill and wrap cheese. Scoop the mushrooms onto the bottom piece of Brie cheese, trying for an even layer. Place the top of the Brie back in place and press down. Finally, wrap tightly in plastic (we know that’s usually somewhat of a no-no for cheese, but occasionally you need to break the cheese rules), and refrigerate for about three days before serving.
Now, we haven’t tried this cheese quite yet — it’s on tonight’s menu — so we’ll review and update later. But, as far as simplicity goes, you can’t get much easier than this.
Update. We had a bunch of these for dinner last night and they were perfect. Just enough mushroom taste to make it interesting, and, of course, with the melted cheese, how can you go wrong? An easy five.