Sunday, December 9, 2012

Winter Party Appetizer: (Organic) Mushroom Ragout

With "winter" as the theme, a "white appetizer" wass Chris and my assignment for our monthly dinner party group. White, to me, says "cheese," so - inspired by our favorite dish at local restaurant Finca, called "tosta setas" or - we went for the following recipe. It took a little more than an hour to cut veggies, simmer the mixture and toast the baguette slices, and it did require an attentive eye, but one bite into this meaty, cheesy, creamy and crispy appetizer and you'll know it was 100-percent worth it!

**This dish is healthy, with the omegas in the olive oil, and low-calorie/vitamin D-packed mushrooms, and very little cream/butter. Plus, feta cheese is one of the healthiest, lowest-calorie cheeses - especially if you get the kind made with goat's milk (many commercial varieties are made with cow's milk).

  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds assorted wild mushrooms (such as oyster, crimini, and stemmed shiitake), thickly sliced
  • 1/4 cup organic, finely chopped shallots
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup low-salt, free-range chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup organic whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped organic, fresh parsley, divided
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese
  • 1 wheat baguette, sliced

Melt 2 tablespoons butter with 2 tablespoons oil in large deep skillet (we used our wok) over medium-high heat. Add all mushrooms and sauté until tender and browned, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add shallots and balsamic vinegar; sauté until tender, about 2 minutes. Season lightly to taste with salt and pepper.    
Set aside pan to let the mixture cool a bit, so you know how much liquid is still left in the pan. After it settles, drain most of the excess liquid out of the pan.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375°F. Lay baguette slices on baking sheet and coat both sides with olive oil. Bake them in the oven till toasted (5-10 minutes).

Rewarm mushrooms over medium-high heat. Add broth and simmer 1 minute. Stir in the cream, the feta and 2/3 of the parsley. Season mushroom ragout to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat; scoop onto baguette slices.

Makes enough for about six people.

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