To me, there’s nothing quite like a baked brie, especially as part of an hors d’oeuvres spread. Plus, wheels of brie come in different sizes, so you can choose one depending on your number of guests.
When I catered, I created fancier versions of baked brie, often topped with a cranberry chutney and wrapped up in puff pastry for Christmas parties. But you don’t need to go through all of that work.
So here’s another savory baked brie that would be good any time in the fall or winter, especially with a crisp hard cider, a Côtes du Rhone, or a half-dry Riesling.
It’s a brie topped with thyme-scented sautéed mushrooms. A variety of wild mushrooms plus dried mushrooms is ideal, but if you’re limited in your access, regular button mushrooms or Portabellas will do just fine!
Baked Brie topped with Mushrooms
3/4 ounce dried mushrooms
8 ounces of mixed, fresh mushrooms
3 ounces unsalted butter
3 shallots, diced
Fresh or dried thyme
Brie, at room temperature, mine was 1.5 pounds
First, place the dried mushrooms in a bowl, and cover them with hot water. Place a smaller bowl inside along with a weight like a can, to keep them submerged, and let the mushrooms hydrate for at least 15 minutes.
Chop the fresh mushrooms into small pieces and set aside.
Then dice the shallots.
Remove the softened mushrooms from the water, and dry them off on a paper towel. Then chop those as well, removing any hard bits. By the way, always save this mushroom jus! It can be used in sauces or soups for wonderful mushroomy flavor.
Meanwhile, heat a skillet with the butter over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and the fresh mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots and mushrooms have completely softened.
By cooking over fairly high heat, the mushrooms don’t require as much butter, and no water is produced. Cook the mixture until there is slight browning.
Add the chopped dried mushrooms. Sprinkle with thyme and season with salt and pepper.
Now your mushrooms are ready for the brie. When I went to my local grocery store for a brie, I intended on purchasing a whole wheel, maybe 2-3 pounds. However, there were none, there was only this 1.5 pound slice. Since this was a fairly last-minute plan, I had to go with it.
Normally, I would preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and bake the brie along with the mushroom topping for about 15-20 minutes.
However, because of my brie slice, I had to warm it in the microwave. You just have to be careful to adjust the power levels because you’re simply warming the brie – not cooking it.
So that’s what I did. Just make sure the plate or platter is large enough to accomodate the oozing brie.
Serve with fresh bread or crostini.
note: You could always use cognac or brandy to flame the mushrooms after they’re cooked, but that will give them a stronger flavor.