Mushroom Strudel with Butter Beans in Tomato Sauce

06 August 2018

Mushroom strudel with butter beans in tomato sauce

This is a perfect meal for that meat-free Monday you’ve been promising yourself. It came about simply because I decided to be spontaneous and walk into the supermarket and see what caught my eye. The first thing that did was mushrooms. I immediately thought back to 30 years ago when I’d done a mushroom strudel - recipe long-since forgotten - for a banquet of book-lovers in Plymouth. I figured I would use that recipe as inspiration.

I think the key to this dish is that it should have a light, creamy mushroom filling - for this dish you don’t want the mushrooms cooked until they’re caramelising developing all those intense earthy flavours - I cooked these gently until the liquid they naturally released had all evaporated and before the mushrooms had coloured in any major way. Then you can just cut the cream cheese into the hot mushrooms and it all works very nicely together.

One other key performance tip is not to pick up one of the slices on a fish slice as I did and then allow it to go whizzing off onto the kitchen floor. It’s always good when that doesn’t happen. In this case, it happened, and I had to say ‘dash it’ and ‘gosh darn it’ or words to that effect.

I accompanied this one with the self-same Norfolk Peer potato salad I recently described here - except with a few spring onions chopped up and added at the end. New potatoes worked well here, but feel free to see what other accompaniments you think would work - or even maybe go without.

 

Mushroom Strudel with Butter Beans in Tomato Sauce

Serves: 2
Ingredients

250g closed cup mushrooms
2 tablespoons oil
25g butter
90g cream cheese (Philadelphia soft cheese is fine)
1 tablespoon chopped chives
Salt and pepper to taste
1 squeeze lemon juice
3 strudel leaves
25g melted butter

1 x 400g can butter beans, drained
Half an onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 tablespoons oil
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
100g tomato purée
Half an orange or red pepper (optional)
Half a tablespoon caster sugar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (maybe more, to taste)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

 

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 180ºC / 160ºC fan oven.

Slice the mushrooms and get them into a frying pan with the oil over a gentle medium heat. Once they’ve soaked up all the oil, add the butter and keep gently frying them. At some point, they will release their liquid, and then just keep cooking until it’s mostly evaporated.

Once the mushrooms are cooked. Take them off the heat and add the cream cheese. Cut the cheese into the mushrooms with a couple of knives and mix it until the cheese has melted and is coating the mushrooms. Add the chopped chives and salt and pepper to taste. Then add a squeeze of lemon juice and taste again - the addition of the lemon juice should give it an extra zing (without making it overly lemony). If it’s not quite done that, then add a bit more until it has a good balance of flavour.

Lay one of the strudel leaves on a baking tray and brush the top with melted butter. Then lay a second sheet on top of it, and repeat again with the melted butter. Finally, lay the third sheet on top. Spoon the mushroom filling on one side of the strudel pastry, then brush around it with the butter and roll the pasty over to enclose the mushroom mix. Fold over the edges, using a bit more melted butter if needed, then turn the strudel so that the seam side is facing down, and give a final brush of melted butter over the top. Cut a couple of slits into the top so the steam can escape, and put into the oven for around 25 minutes.

While that’s in the oven, put the chopped onion and garlic in a medium sized pan over a medium heat, along with the oil. Fry until the onion has softened but before it has coloured. Add the orange or red pepper, if using, and cook on for a couple of minutes more. Then add the chopped tomatoes, the tomato purée, the caster sugar, plus about 150ml water. Continue to simmer for 20 minutes, until the strudel is nicely golden brown and crispy.

When the strudel is ready, add the red wine vinegar to the butter beans and some salt and black pepper. Taste, and adjust the seasoning to suit.

To server, put a mound of the tomato butter beans on the place, and place a slice of the strudel on top.

Food waste

Any standard pack of strudel leaves will have more than three, so you’ll have some left over. If you buy an unfrozen one, you can take out the leaves you need and then freeze the rest - perhaps in batches of three. 

I’ve said to use half an orange or red pepper - to be honest, this was because that’s exactly what I had that needed to be used up. It doesn’t make a huge difference to the butter bean tomato mix, so feel free to leave it out or, if it’s quite a small pepper, use the full (deseeded) pepper. If you do end up using half, wrap it in clingfilm and keep it in the fridge. It should last three days or more - so make a decision before you put it in the fridge when during that time it’s going to be used, and for what.