Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mushroom Charlottes with Port and Currant Sauce (Page 67)


  • Date: Friday, February 6, 2009 -- 7pm
  • Location: Bloomington, IN
  • Kitchen: My Apartment
  • Fellow Chef: Matty
  • Dining Companions: Karen H, Dave, Teri, and Terry
  • Recipe Rating: A-

I chose this first course as part of the meal for my parents and future-in-laws when they visited a few weeks ago. I wanted to serve at least one dish that was a little bit classy, and this was that dish. My special gentleman did a lot of the work on this one. He started by cooking butter, onions, garlic, mushrooms, salt, pepper, thyme. We then transferred this mixture to a kitchen towel and wrung out as much liquid as possible, reserving the liquid. He then stirred a mixture of egg, cream cheese, and cream into the mushroom mixture, and then added chopped parsley, grated Parmesan, salt, and pepper. To assemble, we cut rounds from white sandwich bread using a cookie cutter, then cut small squares from other slices of bread. We brushed all the bread slices with melted butter, then fit them into ramekins -- using the rounds to line the bottoms and slightly overlapping squares around the sides. My special gentleman then filled the bread-lined ramekins with mushroom filling, and topped each ramekin with another bread round. The charlottes were baked until the bread was golden, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, my special gentleman made a sauce of port, currants, beef stock, reserved mushroom liquid, currant jelly, red wine vinegar, arrowroot, salt and pepper. When the charlottes were done baking, we inverted them each onto a plate, and drizzled with sauce.

These charlottes were extremely good. The bread became wonderfully crispy, and the filling was very tasty. It had a lovely creaminess to it and a rich mushroom flavor. What really made the dish, though, was the sauce. The flavors from the port, beef stock, and mushroom liquid worked together beautifully. The currant jelly gave it a touch of sweetness and the red wine vinegar contributed a nice acidity. It was thickened just the right amount to have a perfect consistency. It was really an excellent sauce. The sauce we made for the meat left something to be desired, so I also ate this sauce with my pork later in the meal. It was great for that purpose as well. This dish was on the time-consuming side, but everyone enjoyed it very much. I would certainly make it again!

Unfortunately, this recipe is not online.

At the beginning of every semester I tell myself that it won't be as busy as the previous ones. Yet, somehow they seem to always end up pretty busy! This semester so far has been relatively calm, but the craziness is about to start. On Friday afternoon my special gentleman and I are flying down to my parents' house in South Carolina. They recently sold their house, and they are giving us a lot of their furniture. So we will fly down after I teach on Friday and start driving back up on Saturday, in a big moving truck. Hopefully we will arrive back in Bloomington by Sunday afternoon, and unload the furniture into storage (to sit until we eventually buy a house somewhere). Then on Monday, it's back to work. We are having a whole bunch of mathematical visitors in the department next week, including my thesis advisor from MIT. So it will be a busy, busy week! After that I have a week to relax/catch up/give my class a midterm before I head off for a week in Boston (spring break!) followed by a week at a conference in North Carolina. And then it will almost be April! Which means the semester will be wrapping up, and our May wedding will be just over the horizon! So maybe my semester isn't going to be as calm as I thought, but I am looking forward to all of these various trips and visits, so I can't complain!

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