Move over apples! Mushrooms are in town! Strudel is a layered pastry that is usually sweet. However, strudel can be savory! Here is a twist on a classic Germanic dish that is often featured as a vegetarian entree during Oktoberfest. This version balances the umami of meaty earthy mushrooms against tangy goat cheese, citrus, and fresh thyme without all of the gluten found in the traditional dish.
Strudel, in Middle High German, means whirlpool, or eddy, and is derived from the whirled shape of the cooked dough and stuffing when sliced. Traditional strudel dough is made from a high gluten flour. The elastic dough, when stretched out thin, becomes transparent. Strudel recipes are descended from similar pastries, like baklava, of the Mediterranean and Middle East with the earliest mention in Europe found in a handwritten cookbook dating back to 1696 in Vienna. Strudel’s were popular in the 18th Century Hapsburg Empire with the rumor being that the Emperor’s perfectionist chef ruled that the dough should be thin enough to read a love letter through! Our version replicates the light and crispy traditional dough with phyllo.
Many of the savory versions of strudel come from the historical Ashkenazi Jewish communities that were spread throughout Europe. These savory strudels are often eaten at Sukkot to celebrate the bounty of the harvest and featured locally produced and native ingredients. For instance, káposztás rétes, a Hungarian strudel, features braised cabbage with caraway. Our recipe replicates the mushrooms that would have been picked in fall forests and goat cheese that was made on the shtetl.
For the mushroom blend in our strudel I used crimini and oyster mushrooms as they both have a bold meaty flavor. When they are around, and I can get my hands on them, I like to substitute wild Montana morels for the oysters. They are a bit hit and miss as you need the right moisture the year after forest fire, however, they are well worth the effort! For our vegan friends omit the butter and use olive oil instead. For the dairy, substitute the goat cheese with cashew sour cream for the tang, and a dairy free cream cheese like Kite Hill. Whichever version you prepare I highly recommend this dish with a bit of Mike Well’s yeast gravy. The recipe for which can be found on our Feathered Pipe Kitchen blog!
Savory Chevre, Leek & Mixed Mushroom Strudel
Makes 6 – 8 servings
— 1 roll Athens phyllo dough
— 1 1/2 sticks butter, melted
— 2 pounds mixed mushrooms – Crimini, Oyster, Shiitake, Portabella, or Morel
— 4 ounces cream cheese
— 4 ounces plain Chevre
— 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, minced
— 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
— 1/2 fresh Leeks, sliced into thin strips
— 1 shallot, minced
— 3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
— 1 to 2 lemons, freshly juiced
— salt and pepper to taste
— Thin slice the Crimini mushrooms and tear the oysters into strips.
— Add 1/2 stick butter to a saute pan and put on medium high heat. Add the mushrooms to the butter just before it starts to smoke. It may seem like a lot of mushrooms at first. They will shrink down considerably as they are cooked.
— Add the leeks, shallots, and garlic at about the half way point when sauteing the mushrooms. When you start to see a bit of browning on the mushrooms cut the lemons in 1/2 and squeeze the juice into the pan to deglaze. Use 2 lemons for a more tart dish.
— Remove from heat and add the cream cheese and goat cheese. Mix with a spoon until melted and incorporated. Separate, in the same pan, the mixture into two equal halves. Reserve and allow to cool.
— Melt 1 1/2 sticks butter. Use the back of sheet pan and stack the layers of phyllo dough with brushed butter in between each layer. Use 1/2 of the roll of phyllo sheets.
— Spoon half the mixture down the middle of the buttered stack of phyllo sheets and fold over the top of the mixture into a roll. Slide the finished roll of off the back of the sheet pan onto the buttered baking surface of another sheet pan. Butter the top generously. Repeat for the second roll. Score the top diagonally with a knife.
— Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes until the top has a nice golden brown color.
— Cool and serve warm. This dish can be prepared a couple of days ahead if you wish. Cover with plastic wrap to keep phyllo from drying.