A wonderful, savory dish that is sure to enhance any Seduction Meal. This one is all about taste, texture and presentation. I typically serve this with grilled rosemary lamb chops.
First; I hope to spare you the mistake I made the first time I prepared this dish. I never worked with leeks before and had no idea what was to follow. While not complex, this is time consuming process. I painstakingly followed the recipe to a "T". The aroma filled the room; the anticipation was great. I had 6 people over for dinner–everyone commented on how beautiful the dish looked. We all lifted our forks and savored the moment the food would hit our palette. To my horror, I had an unexpected mixture of mushroom, sherry, leeks and sand in my mouth. It was devastating! Thank goodness it was my family so (to this day) we all laughed it off.
A little bit about leeks. A member of the onion family, leeks are grown in sandy soil. It is very important to thoroughly wash the leeks as dirt and grit can be found in the white section from the base up. Buy fresh, healthy looking leeks–preferably younger ones. The best flavor is the white part of the leek, which has a sublime sweet, earthy flavor, much milder than cooking with onions. When cooking leeks be sure not to overcook or brown them, rather, saute leeks until soft and remove them from the stove.
Mushroom + Leek Beggar’s Purse
4 Leeks, washed thoroughly
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 lbs of mushrooms (mixed is fine), I used shitake and button mushrooms. You can use chanterelles or criminis too.
Crumbled Gorgonzola blue cheese (optional)
1-2 tablespoons of fresh crushed thyme leaves
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/4 cup of sherry or Madeira Wine
6 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed in refrigerator
8 tablespoons (1 stick), unsalted butter melted
Long stemmed chives (use for ties)
1. To prepare leeks, cut away the blue/green leaves on top and trim the base. Peel away the first layer. Slice the leeks in 1/4" rings from top to bottom. Using your finger, push through each sliced ring and drop into a colander (this results in a bunch of smaller rings–see photo). Take the colander to the sink and rinse with cold running water. Place the colander in a bowl (or better yet use a salad spinner), and fill with cold water. Let stand so sand/grit falls to bottom. Lift colander out of water, throw out sandy water, rinse leeks again in cold running water. I do this process three times. Lastly, shake away any water and set aside to dry for a few minutes.
2. Saute leeks over medium heat in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until soft, about 5 minutes. Do not brown. Remove from skillet and place in a large bowl
3. Add 2 more tablespoons of olive oil to skillet. When hot, add 1/2 of the mushrooms to cover the bottom of the pan. Saute over medium high heat about 5 minutes until mushrooms are soft. With a slotted spoon place cooked mushrooms in a bowl with the leeks. Repeat with rest of mushrooms. Return mushrooms and leeks to the skillet. Add thyme, salt, pepper and Sherry or Madeira Wine. Cook over high heat, stirring until all liquid is reduced to a syrupy consistency. Set aside.
4. Carefully unwrap the Phyllo pastry and unroll flat. Cover with a damp dish towel to prevent the dough from drying out. Note: If you use the pasty before it has thawed, it may crack when you try to unroll it. Not a huge deal, as you will use sheets and bind with butter, although its best to work with untorn sheets.
5. Lay out a sheet of phyllo and brush it sparingly with melted butter. Add a sheet on top of this one, brush with butter and repeat until you have 3 sheets. Cut the sheet into 4 rectangles.
6. Place 1/3 cup of the leek/mushroom mixture in the center of the rectangle. Top this with 1 tablespoon of Gorgonzola cheese (if using cheese).
7, Fold the centers of the sides inward to prevent the mixture from spilling out. Fold over and slightly twist each long end toward the center to create a cinched "purse" shape.
8. Take two or three long strands of chives and tie around each purse. Repeat with rest of mixture and sheets of phyllo pastry.
9. Place beggar’s purses on an ungreased cookie sheet. When all purses on on the sheet, place the cookie sheet with purses in the freezer for 5-10 minutes, chilling until firm.
10.Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake for approximately 15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven. Take a fresh long stemmed chive or two and tie around each purse. Serve hot.