An original recipe! With some help, of course. Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything taught me how to caramelize onions. And I got the Phyllo Dough Cups instruction from The Kitchn. But I actually came up with this on my own and it’s pretty darn delicious. I cannot stress enough the importance of the fresh tarragon. It will give flavors of licorice that perfectly compliment the caramelized onions and mushrooms.
I’m a part of a book club. I’m not the best member. In that I don’t always go and when I do go I’ve actually read the book (well, 3/4 of the book) only once. But the idea of the book club is that you don’t have to read the book to come, and you don’t have to bring anything. You don’t even have to RSVP. You just show up if you want to, as long as it’s, as the organizer puts it, “Easy and fun.” So it’s a no stress book club.
When I had totally forgotten about the book club until one of the other members reminded me, I really wanted to go, and really wanted to whip something up to share, but I was short on time. I worked all morning yesterday on my research, then ran home to take the dogs for a walk, and then ran back to school to tutor students. My office is very close to Whole Foods, so I rushed over there with no idea what I wanted to make. Other people talked about bringing things like pumpkin bread, so I decided to go the savory route. I still had some Phyllo Dough left over from the Butternut Squash and Rainbow Chard Torte that I made earlier this week, so phyllo cups seemed like a great option.
Start to finish, this entire recipe takes about an hour. I know that because that’s how much time I had to do it. The longest process is caramelizing the onions and mushrooms. So start with that. You can work on the other steps while the onions are cooking.
My home state, Pennsylvania, seems to rock when it comes to Organic mushrooms. These are Mother Earth’s Baby Bella mushrooms. They were perfect for this recipe. You want to chop them, but only roughly, not too fine. They will cook down and you want them to retain their texture.
I went with a standard goat cheese, it doesn’t have to be expensive or sold in a log. This is softer than feta, but feta could definitely be substituted.
More about caramelizing onions: The secret is time. I didn’t have a whole lot. I gave in and threw in a tablespoon of brown sugar to move things along. I don’t regret it.
Caramelized Onion and Mushroom, Goat Cheese Phyllo Cups
By Amanda Suhey
- 5 large sheets Phyllo Dough, defrosted
- 1 stick of butter, 6 tablespoons melted, 2 tablespoons reserved
- 1 large sweet onion, sliced into rings or half rings
- 2 tablespoons safflower oil
- pinch kosher salt
- 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 6 ounces goat cheese
- 3 large eggs
- 1/4 cup half and half
- salt and pepper
- shredded parmesan cheese for garnish (I used a parmesan, asiago and fontina mix)
- fresh tarragon, chopped, for garnish
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
For the Phyllo Cups:
- First, prepare the muffin pan. Brush each individual cup with melted butter.
- Then, beginning with one Phyllo sheet, brush with melted butter. Place another sheet on top and also brush with butter. Continue process until you have a stack of 5 phyllo sheets with butter in between each layer.
- Using a pizza cutter, cut out 12 evenly-sized squares that are slightly larger than the circle of the muffin cup. Mine were approximately 3 inches x 4 inches.
- Gently push each phyllo square into muffin tin so that it forms a cup.
- Place in oven and bake for 5 minutes. The dough should be slightly golden but not completely cooked.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before filling.
For the caramelized onions and mushrooms:
- Melt reserved 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet over medium to medium high heat.
- Sauté onions in butter until they begin to brown but not burn, about 10 minutes.
- Reduce heat to medium-low, sprinkle a pinch of kosher salt on onions as they continue to cook down for another 5 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent any burning.
- After another 10 minutes passes and the onions seem to be getting dry, add 2 tablespoons of safflower oil to skillet. Stir to onions to coat.
- Add tablespoon on brown sugar to onions and stir to combine. Cook for another 5 minutes.
- Once onions look almost caramelized, add chopped mushrooms and crushed garlic to the skillet. This will release a lot of liquid. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until liquid has evaporated, about 10 more minutes. At this point the whole mixture should be caramelized.
For the goat cheese custard:
- Place cheese, eggs, half and half, and a dash of salt and pepper in a bowl.
- Beat on high until mixture is smooth and slightly whipped.
To fill the cups:
- Spoon 2 tablespoons of egg-cheese filling into each phyllo cup. Place in oven and cook for another 5-7 minutes until filling is set, but not completely cooked.
- Spoon caramelized onions and mushrooms on top of custard. Top each cup with a pinch of grated cheese.
- Cook for 5 minutes so that cheese can melt and egg-cheese filling is completely set.
- Garnish each cup with chopped tarragon.
To take them to the book club meeting I put them in a little cupcake and muffin tote, pictured above. The spread at book club was amazing and so delicious. We had Smitten Kitchen’s Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls, custard made with real pumpkin, a pumpkin-cream and swiss chard lasagna and quinoa risotto. Quite the cozy-autumn themed get together!