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Bundles of Pastry Joy: Pistachio Stuffed Mushrooms

Bundles of Pastry Joy: Pistachio Stuffed Mushrooms

Anyone searching for a quick, simple, easy and tasty appetizer recipe for a holiday bash you are planning? Well, these beautiful yet delicious bundles of pastry joy are an absolute crowd pleaser.

In fact, this recipe is a match made in mushroom heaven, if there ever was one. Especially if you are a mushroom lover. In my opinion, stuffed mushrooms should be in every home cook’s collection of recipes. They should also be served at every holiday bash.

Stuffing and enclosing helps transform the regular button mushrooms, also known as agaricus bisporus, into something rather delicious. The bonus is that these bundles of pastry joy are easy to make, versatile, and perfect for parties (Trying my best to convince you to make for your next party). This recipe can easily be scaled up — doubled or tripled.

In recent years, it seems mushrooms, especially white button mushrooms have taken the lowest rung on the produce hierarchy. Shiitake, crimini, oyster, porcini, chanterelle, morel and a stunning array of other fungi are increasingly finding their way onto store shelves and into our culinary hearts. Just this past weekend, I found enoki mushrooms, those slender, almost alien-being looking ramen soup variety.

While all mushroom have their place in the mushroom world, I prefer plain white button mushrooms because they are always affordable and available. For those who didn’t know, the humble button mushroom packs as many or more antioxidants than the above mentioned expensive varieties.

Now when it comes to storing and cleaning mushrooms there is a lot of misinformation. Let’s clear that up right now. To store mushrooms, put them in a paper bag, fold the top shut and store them in your fridge. Mushrooms contain lots of moisture and when placed in a plastic bag, they get all sweaty, mushy, and spoil faster. When it comes to fridge placement, keep them out of the vegetable crisper drawer. Those drawers have the same effect as a plastic bag (YUCK!). To clean mushrooms use a dry, wadded up paper towel to brush the dirt away. Refrain from rinsing mushrooms.

So button mushrooms are healthy, cheap, and always at your local grocery store. What about taste? Now see, here’s the great thing about mushrooms, especially button mushrooms, they are flavour sponges. With a few simple ingredients, button mushrooms can pack amazing flavour too.

This recipe has a combination of flavours that works so well together. Bold, spicy, and impressive. The mushrooms act as a blank canvas. The cream cheese adds a much needed cooling element to the aromatic spiciness. The chopped pistachios add the necessary crunch, while also helping to absorb the liquid from the mushrooms, as they bake. The pastry adds an additional surprise of crisp flakiness. Savoury. Addicting. True perfection.

I’ve said it before, but will say it again — puff pastry is an ingenious invention. It is a flaky easy-to-use item that will change the way you cook. It is a staple in my kitchen and I usually have a package or two in the freezer. Puff pastry takes stuffed mushrooms (which on their own do not look appealing) and envelopes them into something breathtakingly beautiful.

This recipe is all about the texture contrast from crunchy outside to tender inside, and with a standard oven and proven technique, you can re-create these memorable pistachio stuffed mushrooms for your holiday party.

Serve these with drinks, in lieu of a first course. Don’t forget a side of your favourite mint chutney.

Pistachio Stuffed Mushrooms in Puff Pastry

15 to 20 button mushrooms (I like the smaller ones better)
½ onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
½ inch piece of ginger, chopped
1 chili pepper, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/3 cup pistachios, shelled and chopped
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon ground garam masala
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon lemon pepper
1 box of puffed pastry, thawed, yet chilled

Directions
Scrub the mushrooms well first. Remove stems from mushrooms; finely chop. Set aside. Place mushroom caps, hollow side up, on parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

In non-stick skillet, cook onion, garlic, chopped mushroom stems, salt and pepper to skillet; cook, stirring, until onion is softened, about 4 minutes. Let cool. Add the chopped pistachios.

In bowl, stir cream cheese with the aromatics and pistachio mixture. Spoon heaping tablespoonful into each mushroom cap. Unfold the puffed pastry. Roll out if necessary. Create small squares of the pastry. Tip: Usually I lay the mushrooms on top of the pastry, to estimate how much will be needed for each mushroom. It’s not an exact science since the mushroom range in size. Place each mushroom in the centre of each pastry square. Cinch up the corners so it makes a little purse.

Bake in a 375°F oven until golden, about 12 to 15 minutes. Serve with your favourite mint chutney.

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