I am told that there are people who don’t like mushrooms. I am not one of them.
For me, the full English is not “full” without mushrooms on the side, the very best risotto is packed with wild mushrooms and I would rather eat a big, juicy field mushroom in a bread roll than any burger I have ever tasted.
A few years ago my friend Ali bought me Antonio Carluccio’s book The Complete Mushroom for my birthday and it makes me very happy. It was here that I first got the idea for a mushroom strudel although I have changed the recipe from the original which uses flour and sherry and parmesan cheese – which also sounds pretty good to me.
The real key to this recipe is to cook the mushrooms quickly over a high heat giving them plenty of space in the pan. If you cram in too many or cook them too slowly you will get too much liquid which, if you leave it in, leads to soggy strudels and, if you drain it off, leads to a loss of flavour.
I made these strudels for a 5 course vegetarian meal that I cooked for friends and served them with roasted parsnip puree and a truffle sauce. I used a combination of oyster, small portabella/portobello, shitake, chestnut and enoki mushrooms, all of which are now widely available but use whatever you can get. They are delicious served hot for lunch or cold for a picnic.
I used bought filo pastry but, if you have time on your hands, you could, of course, always make your own…
220g Pack of Filo Pastry (You will need 8 Sheets)
For the Filling
500g Mushroom (use a mixture of wild and cultivated)
2 cloves Garlic
A large knob of Butter
2 tbsp Olive Oil
2 tbsp Marsala
1 tbsp Thyme Leaves
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C / 400°F / Gas Mark 6
Clean (but don’t wash) and trim the mushrooms then slice.
Finely chop and fry the onion in a little olive oil until soft but not coloured. Mince the garlic and add to the onions along with the thyme leaves. Cook for a few minutes more and then transfer to a bowl.
Re-heat the frying pan add half the butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Once the butter has melted add half the mushrooms. Fry briskly until the mushrooms are just beginning to brown and there is no liquid left in the pan. Remove to a bowl
Repeat with the remaining butter, oil and mushrooms.
Reheat the pan and tip in the cooked onion mix and all the mushrooms. Pour in the marsala and grate over a generous amount of nutmeg. Continue to cook, stirring, over a high heat until all the liquid has evaporated. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Assemble the strudels. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Lay out one sheet of pastry, brush with the melted butter and lay a second sheet on top. Cover the rest of the pastry with a clean, damp tea towel as you work to stop it drying out.
Place a quarter of the mushroom mixture onto the centre of the pastry, brush the borders with melted butter and fold the strudel into a parcel making sure that the mushroom mixture is well enclosed.
Repeat with the remaining pastry / mushroom mixture.
Brush each parcel with beaten egg and place, join side down, on a greased baking sheet.
Bake in the centre of the oven for 15-20 minutes until the strudels are golden brown and crispy on the outside.