A satisfying and relatively straight-forward vegetarian dish of mushrooms and pastry, with a rich chive cream balanced by the tart earthy kick of lightly pickled beetroot. Perfect for an autumnal lunch, and easy to both scale-up and pre-prepare, so ideal for stress-free entertaining.
- Chanterelles of similar seasonal mushroom
- Goats cheese
- Chives, garlic and capers
- Pre-rolled puff pastry
- Salad leaves for garnish
Really the most challenging part of this dish is the construction of the pastry box, but mastering this itself only really requires a quick measurement.
Once you have decided how long you would like the base (I recommend 4 inches or so), it is simply a matter of cutting two thin ends of the same length as the short edge of the box, and two further longer sides which should be slightly shorter than the long edge to account for the corner overlap. (I originally planned to have a top to the box so you also see two lids in the picture).
Bake in a pre-warmed oven at 200c/392f for around 20 mins or until golden brown.
You can then move onto the mushroom filling, which couldn’t really be easier; Just finely chop whatever mushrooms you have managed to find (anything will work well in this recipe), and fry at a very high heat in a pan until most of the moisture has been driven off and the mix looks quite dry. At this point you can add garlic and sage, and season quite liberally.
The chive cream cheese can be mixed by hand or just thrown into a blender. Here I have made it with fresh goats cheese that I brought back from a farm shop, but its just as good to use soft cream cheese such Philadelphia and throw in some chopped chives. If you are seriously lazy/short of time I imagine you could also buy cream cheese with chives already in it but you’ll never replicate the oniony kick of real freshly cut herbs.
Now make your fresh pickled beetroot: Thinly slice the peeled beet using a Japanese mandolin or knife (please be careful if using the former), and leave to soak in white wine vinegar for up to 30 mins.
For ease of construction, I place the cheese mixture in a disposable piping bag. These are very useful and can be bought online at little cost. Having the cheese so prepared lets you neatly add the mortar for your box exactly where you need it, and so makes the whole process altogether a cleaner affair than trying to faff around with a spoon.
Lay some beetroot on the plate and place the base of the box on top. You can pipe a little cream cheese mixture underneath to stop it slipping around if thats a concern.Now build up a little cheese in the middle and, one-by-one, stick the side pieces together. You can put some of the mushroom duxelles mix in the middle and then cover over with more cream cheese.
Garnish with more mushroom mixture and finish with freshly pan-fried mushrooms, more chives and salad leaves. The dish can be eaten at room temperature or chilled if you feel so inclined, and will survive fully-built without going soggy for at least an hour. It would also work well to pre-make all the parts a day in advance, and to construct the actual box just before you want to eat. As such, this kind of dish is perfect for a dinner party where you actually spend time with your guests, not stressed-up and banished to the kitchen.