This New Year’s Eve, I intend to make a few toasts. As in, toasted baguette slices, slathered in creamy Wild Mushroom Fondue and drizzled with a little black truffle oil. One last holiday hoorah before the austerity of the New Year begins. Then it’s back to carrot sticks and kale salad for a while.
On second thought, maybe this mushroom-laden “fondue” isn’t as indulgent as it tastes – especially if you use Neufchatel cheese with “1/3 Less Fat than cream cheese”. (And why wouldn’t you? Bank the fat calories for something with chocolate.)
This recipe makes a great appetizer for a crowd, but it could also be turned into dinner for 4 (with leftovers). For an appetizer, serve in a chafing dish or fondue pot with toasted baguette slices alongside – like here:
Or, spread over a pizza shell (i.e., Boboli) or flatbreads and bake at 425ºF until bubbly.
To turn it into dinner, stir mushroom fondue into cooked farfalle or other shaped pasta, adding a little of the pasta cooking water to thin the sauce if necessary. Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Unlike skinny jeans, this recipe is forgiving. Don’t worry about having an exact amount of mushrooms or shallots, or cream or cheese. Everything can be modified to taste.
Wild Mushroom Fondue
Serves 15+ as an appetizer, or 6-8 as a main course with pasta
- 1 cup dried porcini mushrooms (approx. 1 oz.)
- 1 ½ cups boiling water
- 2-3 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Approx. 2 lbs. cultivated white or cremini mushrooms, washed and sliced
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4-6 large shallots, minced (approx. 1 cup)
- 1 teaspoon dried or 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 cup dry sherry
- 1 block cream cheese or Neufchatel/reduced fat cream cheese
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (or more, to taste)
- Freshly grated black pepper
- Black truffle oil* for finishing (optional)
Place dried porcini mushrooms in a Pyrex measuring cup. Pour in boiling water to cover (approximately 1 ½ cups). Set aside to reconstitute.
In a large heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat butter and oil. Add sliced cultivated mushrooms, stir to coat, and then let cook for 5 minutes or until much of the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms have browned a little.
Stir in the minced shallots and cook until softened, approximately 5 minutes more. [I use a food processor to mince this many shallots.]
Meanwhile, using your fingers or a slotted spoon, gently scoop out the reconstituted porcini from the soaking liquid without disturbing any grit that may have settled to the bottom of the measuring up. Chop porcini and reserve the soaking liquid.
Add chopped porcini and thyme to the mushroom/shallot mixture and sauté for another minute or two.
Add sherry to deglaze the pan (loosen any bits from the bottom) and allow to cook for another minute.
Reduce heat and stir in cream cheese, heavy cream and approx. 1/2 cup of the mushroom soaking liquid (making sure any grit stays in the bottom of the measuring cup).
Once smooth, stir in 3/4 cup parmesan and a few grinds of freshly grated black pepper.
Taste for seasoning, adding more parmesan cheese or a pinch more kosher salt if necessary. Add a little more mushroom liquid if the fondue seems too thick. To finish, stir in a few drizzles of black truffle oil*, if using.
[*A note on truffle oil: Most commercial truffle oil – including this bottle I guilt-purchased at Trader Joe’s after my kids chowed down half the tray of oil-drizzled mushroom turnover samples – is actually truffle-flavored oil, as in engineered to taste like truffles. A little disappointing, but I’m OK with it because I like the flavor it lends to the dish. Plus, real truffles are hard to find around here.]
Cheers! We wish you a happy and healthy New Year.