• Portobello mushroom Wellington

    Photo: Randy Graham, Valley Vegetarian

    Are you looking for an amazing appetizer to add to your New Year’s celebration table? Look no further.

    The pairing of Portobello mushroom earthiness with fresh winter kale and the creamy goodness of Stilton cheese will delight both family and friends. Serve with a sparkling wine and this is a combination that can’t be beat.

    Here’s an added bonus: these puff pastry appetizers can be made ahead of time and kept refrigerated until ready to bake.

    4 medium Portobello mushrooms
    4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    1 bunch fresh red chard (ribs trimmed, leaves cut into ribbons)
    1 clove garlic (minced)
    1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
    Salt and pepper to taste
    4 ounces Stilton cheese (sliced)
    1 package puff pastry sheets
    1 large egg (beaten)
    1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

    Remove the stalks from the mushrooms and brush off the tops. Heat two tablespoons of the oil in a large frying pan on medium heat and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden and cooked through. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and set the pan and the mushrooms aside.

    Clean chard leaves under running cold water. Hold the stem of one leaf in your hand and grasping the leafy part with your other hand, tear the rib away from the stem. Discard stems and cut leaves into ¼-inch ribbons.

    Place the pan back on the stove and add the other two tablespoons oil. Add the garlic and cook on medium-high heat for one minute. Add the chard to the pan, and then cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, add lemon, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

    Roll the pastry out to ⅛-inch thickness. Cut out 8 circles about 4 inches in diameter (depending upon the size of the mushrooms). Place 4 pastry circles on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.

    Top each circle with a quarter of the chard. Top the chard with a slice of cheese, then a mushroom, smooth-side up, and top the mushroom with another slice of cheese. Brush the border to each circle with egg, then gently stretch one of the four remaining circles over the cheese and press the edges together with a fork. Repeat 3 more times.

    Brush the tops with egg wash and sprinkle thyme leaves on top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and cool on a rack for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with a side of gravy if desired.

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