Mushroom Turnovers

by rivka on July 25, 2011 · 7 comments

in main dishes, vegetarian, weekday lunch

Most of you regulars probably know that in the summer months, D and I operate under a cold-oven policy. Our apartment, see, it loves the heat. It clings to every last morsel of July humidity like there’s some shortage (which, having spent the past week in town clinging to my vent, I can say with certainty there is not). Living in this hot, sticky mess, I’m so tired I can barely cook. We’ve been eating lots of salads these past few weeks, and in our near future, there’s no shortage of those, either.

On the rare occasions that I do turn on the oven (for, say, this peach blackberry wonder), I try to maximize its utility. That’s what had me making these mushroom turnovers a couple weeks back. The oven was already on, so I figured I should get as much stuff inside as I possibly could. The beauty of these triangles is that you can cook the whole batch at once, freeze them, and then pop a couple into a container any which day and call ‘em lunch.

I’ve been making spanikopita for years, both with puff pastry and with phyllo dough, and apple turnovers are a beloved winter brunch staple. But mushroom turnovers are the newest addition to my turnover repertoire. They’re easy, delicious, and appropriate for all seasons. Also, they’re pretty easy to make.

I modeled the recipe on my stuffed mushrooms, which are inspired by the delicious stuffed mushrooms my mom makes. They’re purist’s mushrooms, made using the chopped up fungi, cheese, and little else. For my turnovers, I sauteed chopped mushrooms with shallots and garlic till soft and flavorful, deglazed with white wine, and cooked the whole mixture until the liquid had evaporated. Into each turnover goes a scoop of the mushrooms and a sprinkle of cheese. That’s it.

If you don’t make these until fall, I won’t judge. It’s pretty darn hot. But if you’re already making that cherry pie, why toss a batch of these into the oven at the same time? That way, you can be as lazy as the heat requires for the rest of the week, and still not go hungry. A good deal, if you ask me.

Mushroom Turnovers
makes 12 turnovers

1 package (24 sheets) phyllo dough (most boxes contain two packages)
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons butter, divided
4 small to medium shallots, diced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 lbs. mushrooms, wiped clean, trimmed and diced (including stems)
salt and pepper
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese

Leave phyllo dough out on the counter, still wrapped, for at least 1 hour to thaw.

Meanwhile, add olive oil and 3 tablespoons butter to a large saute pan set over medium heat. When butter has melted, add shallots, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Sweat for two minutes. Add chopped mushrooms, another pinch of salt, and several gratings of pepper. Cook mushrooms, stirring every so often, until soft, fragrant, and slightly shriveled, about 15 minutes. Add white wine to the pan, and use a wooden spoon to scrape up all the caramelized bits of mushroom and shallot from the bottom of the pan. Cook about 5 minutes more, until wine has totally evaporated and mixture no longer looks moist. Remove from heat and allow to cool at least 10 minutes.

Melt remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a small bowl.

Preheat the oven to 350. Unwrap phyllo dough so that the stack of sheets lies completely flat. Cover with a kitchen towel, and keep phyllo covered with towel while making the turnovers. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat, and take a second baking sheet to use as your workspace.

Now you have your workstation – phyllo on one side, mushroom mixture and butter next to you, lined baking sheet right nearby. Take one sheet of phyllo dough and gently place it onto the unlined baking sheet (your workspace). Brush lightly with melted butter – a 3 strokes per sheet, maximum. Place another sheet of phyllo over the first, and brush butter again. Repeat two more times, for a total of four phyllo sheets stacked one on the next. Then use a paring knife to slice this stack in two lengthwise, so you have two long strips (as in the first picture). Put 1 1/2 tablespoons of the mushroom mixture at one edge of each strip, and sprinkle about 1/2 tablespoon cheese (more, if desired) over the mushroom mixture. Then fold as you would a paper football (again, see top picture) until the mixture is completely wrapped in phyllo. Place onto lined baking sheet so the end of each strip of dough is tucked under the turnover. Repeat with remaining sheets of phyllo, until you’ve done these steps 6 times and made a total of 12 turnovers. Place turnovers on lined baking sheet with a bit of space between each.

Bake turnovers for 30 minutes, until golden brown. Serve immediately, or cool completely on a rack, then transfer to the freezer. Turnovers will keep frozen for several months.

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