It’s finally officially spring and fresh herbs are beginning to pop up in gardens and nurseries across Canada. With Easter just around the corner, now is a great time to explore a new mushroom recipe using a springtime herb, and the following one just happens to look like a festive Easter nest.
My sister Jennifer has been known to make a seriously good Mushroom Gougere, and I have her to thank for introducing me to this unique way to bring Canadian mushrooms to the table. This Cheddar Chive Mushroom Gougere has fresh chives and grated cheddar cheese baked right into the puffed crust which surrounds a rich and creamy mushroom filling. Gougere is a classic French dish made with choux dough combined with cheese that rises high in the oven, baking into a savoury pastry. Traditionally made with Gruyere or Emmental cheese, the following gougere recipe uses Cheddar to pair with fresh spring chives.
If you've never made choux dough before, do not fear. It’s just simple ingredients – butter, water and eggs, combined with a bit of straightforward cooking and mixing. Once you master the general techniques of choux baking, you open up your kitchen to a whole new world of scratch-made savory mushroom appetizers, sweet cream puffs and éclairs, even French Cruller donuts. And if you are making choux dough for the first time with this recipe, you’ll be happy to know that this dish is supposed to look rustic and comforting, and doesn't require any fancy piping of the dough.
You can find fresh chive bunches at grocery stores and farmer’s market, or stop by your local plant nursery and grab a seedling pot to celebrate spring. Keep chives growing in a sunny kitchen window, snipping and eating the stems and flowers until your local temperatures are warm enough to plant in your garden. Chives will keep producing new edibles throughout the growing season for years to come, and pair well with many Canadian mushroom varieties. I have used good old Canadian button mushrooms in the following recipe, but many types will work well in this gougere filling, including Portabella, Crimini and Oyster mushrooms.
Chive & Cheddar Mushroom Gougere
Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cook Time: 40 minutes | Serves 8
Cheddar Chive Gougere Dough
1 cup flour
1 cup water
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
Pinch of salt & pepper
2 tablespoons fresh chives
Creamy Mushroom Filling
1 pound Canadian mushrooms (button, crimini, portabella or oyster)
1 red onion
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt & 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh chives for garnish
Preheat oven to 425 F degrees. Begin by prepping all ingredients – sift flour, grease a large pie plate, grate cheddar cheese, dice red onion, roughly chop mushrooms and fine chop chives. Set prepared ingredients aside.
To make the choux dough, add water and butter to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the flour all at once with a pinch of salt & pepper, and immediately begin vigorously and continuously stirring with a large spoon for approximately 3 minutes as you combine and cook the dough. Remove from the heat and place the hot dough into a mixing bowl or stand mixer. Stir a few more times to release heat, then let cool for 3 minutes.
In a stand mixer or using a hand beater or whisk, begin adding the eggs to the dough, one at a time, beating until smooth after each egg until the choux dough is smooth and shiny (add an additional egg if needed). Fold in the grated cheese and chopped fresh chives, and spoon the mixture into a large, greased pie plate, mounding the dough up along the sides and creating a well in the centre for the mushroom filling.
To make the mushroom filling, begin by sautéing the red onion and chopped mushrooms in a large frying pan with a tablespoon of canola oil and one teaspoon salt & pepper. Once soften, remove the mushroom/onion mixture and set aside. Melt the butter over medium heat in the same pan, then add the flour and stir for two minutes. Add the milk and whisk until the sauce begins to thicken, then add in the mushroom mixture and stir until the sauce is thick and smooth.
Spoon the mushroom filling into the centre of the dough “nest” and bake in the oven at 425 degrees for 35-45 minutes until the gougere is puffed high and golden brown, and the mushroom filling is set and caramelized on top.
Garnish with fresh chives and serve hot.
Looking for another mushroom-filled dish for your Easter table?
Holiday menu planning just got simpler! This truly is the perfect dish to impress your guests and make use of all of these wonderfully fresh spring flavours. Thanks so much Gwen for being our guest again!