I made these this weekend and planned to post about them Sunday but I had a run in with an under ripe Persimmon and ended up in the Emergency room! Long story short, eating a certain type of persimmon when not fully ripe causes extreme cotton mouth (xerostomia–feels like you ate a tablespoon of alum!) and I had some sort of reaction to it. My chest got really tight, my face started feeling numb, and I was having trouble talking so I finally had my husband drive me to the ER. They checked me out and the symptoms weren’t getting any worse so they wanted to give me some steroids, benadryl and something else I can’t remember and watch me for awhile. Since I was feeling slightly better as time passed I opted to leave and go get my own benedryl for $6 at the drugstore rather than pay $1500 for a couple of hours in the hospital. The doctor said to come back if I felt worse but that otherwise over the counter was fine and I should be feeling better by today. I do–just a sore throat and a loss of innocence! I feel robbed frankly. I LOVE trying new foods and until yesterday I never had a problem with any sort of allergy or reaction (and I’d eaten fully ripe persimmons before with no trouble). It was terrifying and my willingness to taste almost anything just for the experience is going to be tempered now with the memory of that horrible feeling of panic when my throat started tightening. So I’m a little sad about that but I’m hoping my sense of adventure will return as the memory fades over time. Moral of the story? Never, ever, ever eat an unripe persimmon people!! It’s just not fun.
But enough about my unpleasant food experiences this weekend–let’s move on to the delicious ones! These strudels….so yummy! The filling is a savory delight, and I conceived it with the intention of making ravioli’s which I did. Unfortunately I used the last of the dumpling wrappers leftover in my freezer from making the shrimp potstickers
for the ravioli and while they tasted great, they didn’t photograph well because the wrappers were too translucent. I had some filling left and decided to make strudels with phyllo dough because while it was tasty in a ravioli, who doesn’t love a savory filling tucked into a crispy wrapping? Anyone? I didn’t think so! Add to that a sweet sauce of cider and bourbon and it’s time to invite some friends over because this is one that is so good you’ll want to share it! It’s like when a tree falls in the forest and there’s nobody there to hear it does it really make a sound? So if you create an awesome dish and there is nobody to taste it but you….well you get the idea! Another great thing about this filling is that it could be tucked into puff pastry, store bought phyllo cups, or mushroom caps for an even easier appetizer that is perfect for cocktail parties or any event that requires small bites or no forks.
For the filling:
2 Tbl olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cups assorted mushrooms chopped (I used reconstituted shitake, oyster & porcini–you can also use fresh if available)
1/2 cup chicken broth (or mushroom water if you reconstituted them–strain through a coffee filter first to get out any grit)
1/2 cup dry white wine
8 cups chopped swiss chard (mostly leaves)
4 oz goat cheese
1/2 cup panko or fresh bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
salt & pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a large saute pan and cook onions until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the white wine and cook for several minutes until the liquid has reduced by half. Add the broth and swiss chard, tossing until coated. Cook for five minutes until the swiss chard is wilted and any bits of stem have softened. If you have a lot of stems you may have to cook a bit longer–use your own discretion. Remove from the heat and stir in the goat cheese, thyme leaves and bread crumbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let it cool slightly before using–or you can refrigerate it for up to 2 days.
To make the strudels:
Lay out the phyllo dough and have a bowl of melted butter and a pastry brush ready. Or you can use a good quality olive oil spray which I did–it’s faster and uses less fat. Spray or brush the top layer of phyllo and place about 4 Tbl of filling about 3 inches from the edge closest to you in the middle (sorry I didn’t take pictures of the process!). Fold two sheets of dough away from you to cover the filling. Fold in the two sides, spray or brush again, and roll the filling over until you reach the end. You should have a rectangle shaped package measuring around 3 x 6 inches. (Alternatively, you can use less filling and wrap them like a triangle as shown in the picture above which can be eaten like a finger food. Here’s a tutorial I found which may be helpful if you’ve never worked with phyllo before (folding phyllo triangles
). As mentioned the store bought pre-made phyllo cups by Athens work great too if you want to make a lot of them fast–and they can be passed on a tray and eaten in one bite so are perfect for a cocktail party.) Bake the large rectangles for about 20 minutes, smaller triangles for about 15 minutes. Since the filling is cooked you are mostly concerned with getting a nice golden brown color on the phyllo so keep checking your oven and when they look done take them out. To serve the rectangles, cut them diagonally across the long end so you get two long triangles and cross them on top of each other as in the top photo.
Now the sauce–which isn’t essential but it really complements the savory flavors in these strudels and takes them from really good to over the top delicious! You can put this on to reduce while you’re baking the strudels, it doesn’t take long.
Reduce 3/4 cup of cider and 2 Tbl of bourbon (I used Woodford Reserve) in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Once it has reduced by half, add 1 Tbl of heavy cream and simmer for about 2 minutes until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and whisk in 1 TBL of cold butter until melted. SO GOOD you’ll want to eat it with a spoon!
As always your comments are appreciated so let me know if you try these and what you thought of them!