Mushroom Strudel in Mexican Chile Dulce

Mushroom Strudel in Mexican Chile Dulce

When you just feel like having friends over for a “gussied up” dinner party, try this delicious mushroom strudel.  This lacto-vegetarian dish is rich and fancy, but you can assemble everything ahead of time and, when your friends arrive, pop it in the oven.  No, this is not Texas Mexican at all, but we can’t get away from using chiles, in this case the sweet, no capsaicin “Chile Dulce,” aka Bell Pepper.

The Spanish fell in love with this Mexican chile and in the 1500s transported it to Europe where it naturalized in their gardens and is now an integral part of the Spanish culinary culture.  They call it Pimentón.  The same love affair happened in Hungary where it is called Paprika. Chile Dulce is just beloved by everyone.  You’ll see why in this dish.  And so will your friends.

The strudel’s a bit of a trick to assemble but keeps well in the refrigerator for hours, freeing you up to relax with your guests until you’re ready to pop it in the oven.

Mushroom Strudel is Vegetarian with Chile Pepper
Mushroom Strudel in Mexican Chile Dulce

Mushroom Strudel Recipe

(makes 2 strudel logs. Each serves 6. Keep one in the fridge for later)
For the Strudel:
4 oz. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup Garlic, minced
1/2 cup Shallots, minced
5 lbs Mushrooms, quartered
8 oz. Dry Sherry
6 oz. Goat Cheese
3/4 cup Chives, minced
2 Tbs Fresh Thyme, chopped
Salt to taste
Generous grinding of Black Pepper

1 Box Phyllo Dough
8 oz. Salted Butter, melted
2 cups Bread Crumbs or Panko (3/4 cup for each strudel)

For the Chile Dulce Coulis:
1 oz. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup Shallots, minced
2 Tbs Garlic, minced
2 cups Red Chile Dulce, Bell Pepper, seeded and chopped
1 cup White Wine
1 3″ Sprig of Fresh Thyme

3 lbs. Fresh Spinach
1 Tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbs. Garlic, minced
Salt to taste

For the Strudel: (follow the package directions and thaw the phyllo sheets.  After they are thawed, keep them covered with a very damp cloth)
1. In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the mushrooms until golden brown.
2. Add the shallots and the garlic and cook, stirring often, until all of the liquid has evaporated.
3.  Add the Sherry and scrape the pan to unstick all the browned bits. After the Sherry has evaporated completely, set aside and cool to room temperature.
4. Add the cheese and herbs, mix well and season with salt and pepper according to your taste.
5.  Divide the mixture in half and, using waxed paper, parchment or aluminum foil, roll into two 10″ logs.  Hold in the refrigerator to chill a bit.
6. To make the strudel logs, place one 14″ phyllo sheet on waxed paper or plastic wrap and brush it with the melted butter. Then quickly place a second sheet on top of the first, brush with butter and sprinkle bread crumbs over it. Place the other sheets on top, buttering each one and sprinkling with bread crumbs.  Do not butter the last sheet.
7. Remove the mushroom log from the refrigerator, place it on the stack of phyllo sheets and roll it. Fold the two ends and place the strudel, seam side down, on a greased baking sheet. Score the top with a sharp knife and place in the refrigerator, covered, until you are ready to bake it.
8.  Bake in a 375F oven for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

For the Chile Dulce Coulis
1.  In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat, then add the shallots, garlic and chile dulce.  Cook on low heat until they become soft.
2.  Add the wine, herbs, crushed black pepper and cook, uncovered, over medium heat until the liquid evaporates to 1/3 the original volume.
3. Remove the Bay Leaf and Thyme, pour into a blender and blend into a smooth purée.  It should be velvety smooth.  If there are bits and flecks, strain through a fine mesh sieve. Pour it into a saucepan and place the saucepan in hot water. This will keep it warm for a good hour. Reheat the water as you like to keep the coulis warm.

To Sauté the Spinach:
1. In a large Dutch oven heat the olive oil over medium heat, then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
2. Add the Spinach and toss to coat it. Cover the pan and cook for 2 minutes.  Then uncover and keep stirring the Spinach until it is completely wilted.  Add salt to taste. It is ready to serve.

The strudel will slice easily once it is baked.  Arrange on plates as in the picture, spooning the Chile Dulce on each plate and adding dollops of the wilted Spinach.  I just love this dish. A Chilean sauvignon blanc would be great.

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6 thoughts on “Mushroom Strudel in Mexican Chile Dulce”

  • Thanks for the advice. I will try the Guatemalan flavor profile, a friend at work told me those were the kind he grew up with and recommended them.

    Will look through your recipes and essays this weekend for more inspiration and cooking ideas.

    Thanks so much for all the work and effort you put into it.

  • thanks for your comment. Glad you are trying tamales. I don’t recognize your vegan tamales as tamales belonging to any culture in the Americas. Were you trying to imitate one of the many versions of tamales that are delicious culturally authentic?
    It’s better to begin with the basics. In tamales, the corn masa requires delicate and special attention. It is not a wrap.
    I recommend one of the flavor profiles and sticking with it. May I suggest you look up some wonderful tamales, either Mexican, Texas Mexican, New Mexican, Oaxaca or Guatemala or other and start there, exploring the flavor. All of those regions have countless vegan tamales that are part of the culture and the people there, developed, ingredients harmonized, over centuries. That’s the best way to be changed by a food: to enter into another’s world and taste, smell, their food as they intended. Make the tamales in an authentic way and thus enter a new world that changes your flavor ability and your knowledge of other people’s way of looking at the world.
    I’m glad that we both share vegan interests!

  • Fantastic & insightful essay, it was a pleasure to read it.

    I am steaming some vegan tamales. There was an article last May in the NY Times “Cuisines Mastered as Acquired Tastes”, that deals with people cooking dishes that they have no background in, and how they are changed. I really never tasted tamales. I do a vegan version, using olive oil in which I sauteed onions, jalapenos, tomatillos, then put in some leftover focaccia sauce which had onions, jalapenos, a dried habanero, oregano, garlic powder, smoked paprika, then the dried masa, salt, and wrapped & tied in corn husks. Steam for an hour.

    I enjoyed reading your essay, it’s wonderful find someone like you with both culinary and literary talent. I will be back to read the rest of them. Thanks so much for writing & cooking!

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