We’re Cooking: Truffle Brie with Mushrooms

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One of my favorite savory starters continues to please palates at our dinner parties.  This spread was one of my first creations, blending gooey, cheesy and rich baked Brie with hearty, earthy mushrooms cooked in wine and fresh thyme and adding a decadent spoonful of black truffle paste.  Elegant, decadent and so, so good.  Perfect for entertaining one night, then stuffing into chicken breasts the next served on a bed of buttered noodles.  Delicious.

Recipe:

 Truffled Brie Cheese
Ingredients –
One small whole wheel of good Brie or Triple Cream Cheese (Like St Andres) – the richer the cheese the better the dish.
8 oz fresh mushrooms, chopped (can be as simple as button mushrooms, can be as succulent as morels, but you add a good deal of flavor to them, so no need to buy the most expensive for this dish)
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
10 stems fresh thyme, removed from stems and chopped fine
¾ cup good white or red wine (I have used both, both work well, just use something you will drink)
1 tablespoon grapeseed or olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh Italian parsley (optional)
2 – 3 tablespoons Truffle Paste (Central Market has a few versions, including one in their chefs prepared foods section, as does Jimmy’s, Whole Foods and other specialty food stores)
½ sliced fresh baguette

Preparation –
Preheat your oven to about 375 degrees.
In a large pan heat the oil and add the shallot and garlic to sauté.  When slightly golden add in the mushrooms and thyme.  Just coat with the oil and then add in the wine.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Sauté until almost all the wine has evaporated out.  Add in the parsley and wilt while the rest of the wine evaporates out.  The mixture should be moist, but not watery.  Remove from heat and cool slightly.
With a very sharp or serrated knife skim the top layer of the brie shell off.   Place the brie in to an oven safe dish or Brie baking dish.
If you have the truffle paste add a layer on top of the Brie to your taste preference.  Truffle paste can be strong, so you may what to test this dish with just a thin layer.  I  LOVE truffles, so the more the better in my opinion, but a little does go a long way in the world of truffles.
Top the brie and truffle paste with the mushroom mixture. Cover with the Brie dish cover or wrap the whole dish in aluminum foil and place on top of a baking pan in case any bubbles over.  Bake the brie for about 20 minutes until the cheese is bubbly.  Remove from the oven and keep covered, allowing about 10 minutes before you serve for the cheese to slightly set (you don’t want a runny cheesy mess when you try to top your baguette.)
Remove foil and serve with the fresh, sliced baguette.

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