In true Castejón fashion, we have saved almost all of our present buying until this weekend…womp womp womp. And, even better, Alfonso works today (gotta love food and bev life). So, that means that we will do a massive, super-fun, gone-all-day, marriage-testing shopping and brunch extravaganza tomorrow. On the last weekend day before Christmas. Please send us some extra Christmas spirit this way!
It won’t be all work, though, as we are headed to 5 Church Charleston for their very first brunch. This is a newish restaurant near the market downtown and we are so excited to try it! It is also conveniently located next to shopping. This year we are doing a lot of local gifts and the market is a great place to start.
We still had some of that goat cheese from Costco, so for recipe number one this week I decided to try out a contender for Christmas Eve appetizers. We also had some baby bella mushrooms and a half finished beer perfect for cooking. Saucy, garlicky mushrooms over creamy goat cheese on top of a crispy, salty piece of baguette? Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes! These are easy to make the day before and then assemble right before a get-together. Delicious and hearty enough for meat eaters and perfect for vegetarians!
Goat Cheese, Baby Bella, and Garlic topped Crostinis with Mushroom Salt
1 French baguette, sliced very thinly
4 T olive oil, divided
1 T butter
1 lb. baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 t dried thyme
1/8 cup dark beer
1/4 cup minced parsley
6 oz. goat cheese, at room temperature
1 t mushroom salt
Preheat oven to 400°F. Lay out the sliced baguette on a baking sheet and using 3 T of the olive oil brush the tops of the slices. Then, lightly sprinkle with regular salt. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Heat 1 T of olive oil and the butter over medium heat. When sizzling, add the mushrooms and sauté until golden brown, 5-10 minutes. Add a sprinkle of salt, the garlic, and thyme and stir around for about 1 minute. Add the beer and use to deglaze the pan. Let the alcohol cook off and reduce to make a sauce. When reduced, remove from heat and add the parsley, salt, and pepper. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes or so.
Spread the cheese evenly between the crostinis and spoon the mushroom mixture over each one. Sprinkle with the mushroom salt and serve room temperature.
The beer in the mushroom mixture made me want to do another recipe with beer. It brings out a certain hearty depth of flavor that is nice now that it is FINALLY getting cold(er). I’m just glad I won’t have to wear a tank top on Christmas.
Even after making the above recipe there were still tons of mushrooms left over. I think we bought the baby bellas and forgot we had regular mushrooms already. For some reason I kept thinking of cream of mushroom soup, which made me think that we could substitute a homemade cream of mushroom soup for the cream of chicken soup in our enchilada recipe. Do we have chicken? Yes. Enchiladas!!!
The whole enchilada(s) is beer infused. It’s in both sauces. You’ll notice a rounded out flavor, but they will not taste like beer.
This casserole will be great to have leftover this weekend and week. I’ll be Christmas cooking, present wrapping, magic making, etc. with no time for actual, home-cooked meals, so having some leftovers is a beautiful thing.
Chicken and Red Pepper Enchiladas
For the cream of mushroom soup
1 lb button mushrooms, diced
2 T butter
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1/4 cup dark beer
3 T flour
2.5 cups mushroom broth, warmed
3 T heavy cream, warmed
salt and pepper to taste
For the enchilada sauce
1 T olive oil
1 T butter
1 onion, small diced
1 garlic clove, minced
splash of dark beer
2 T chili powder
1.5 t cumin
1/4 t cinnamon
1 t salt
1 t pepper
3 T flour
1 quart chicken broth, warmed (preferably homemade)
1 square of dark chocolate
For the enchiladas
2.5-3 cups cooked chicken, shredded
2 T olive oil
2 red bell peppers, sliced in strips
8 flour tortillas, warmed
3/4 cup sour cream
12 oz. pepper jack cheese, grated
3 T minced cilantro
To make the cream of mushroom soup: Heat the butter over medium heat and when sizzling, add mushrooms. Add salt and pepper and sauté for 5-10 minutes. When most of the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated, add beer and cook off alcohol, about 3 minutes. Add flour and toast for a minute or two. It should be paste like. Add the broth, bit by bit until combined. Cook over medium heat until reduced to a thick sauce, 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in the heavy cream. Set aside to cool.
To make the enchilada sauce: Heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat until it begins to sizzle. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes until tender and golden. Add the garlic and mix around for about 1 minute. Add a splash or two of beer to deglaze. After it cooks off for about 1 minute, add the spices, salt and pepper. Mix well and add in the flour. Cook it for 1-2 minutes to get the flour taste off. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Remove the lid and let simmer over medium heat, uncovered to reduce. This may take 20-30 minutes. It should be the consistency of thick soup. Set aside to cool.
To make the enchiladas: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the peppers and sauté for 8-10 minutes until golden and tender. Set aside. Take 1 cup of the cream of mushroom soup/sauce and mix with the sour cream. Set aside. Add the chicken to the remaining mushroom mixture. Reserve 1/2 of the cheese.
Spread the mushroom and sour cream mixture on the bottom of a greased medium sized casserole dish.
In each tortilla add 1/8 of the remaining cheese, 1/8 of the chicken and mushroom mixture, and 1/8 of the peppers. Roll each one up and place it in the casserole dish as you make them. Top the entire casserole evenly with the enchilada sauce and cover with the reserved cheese. Bake the enchiladas for 30-40 minutes until heated through and the cheese is golden and bubbly. Sprinkle with cilantro and let stand for 15 minutes before eating.
Now, since it’s Saturday, and despite the fact that their are 7 million things to do, I’m going to have an extra strong Spanish coffee with a shot of Godiva chocolate liquor.