Tag Archives: morel

Mini Beef Wellington with Morel Bearnaise and Melted Leeks

Challenge Entry in 3rd Annual Morel Recipe Competition
This recipe was my humble entry into the 3rd Annual Marx Foods Morel Mushroom Competition. Try as we might to garner a win for this exceedingly delicious recipe, we did not come up victorious (we were 3rd place in the popular vote).  But really, in all honesty, we feel as though we won the grand prize in simply getting to eat the mini wellington ourselves.  Our heartfelt thanks to all who voted and spread the word for folks to vote, and a special thanks to Karen M. for slaving with me in the kitchen.  You’re a doll!
I’m bored.  I want to have a party.  I want to have a full out blast and feast on a menu that is a hands down knock out from start to finish.  And to start it off, I want a dish that is worthy of some seriously expensive champagne wishes and caviar dreams.  I want to tuck into it with a big ol’ smile on my face and some hilarious friends nearby doing the same thing.  And I could care less about how many sticks of butter I kill in the process.


When I think of ingredients that get me truly excited, morel mushrooms are high on the list.  I mentioned to a friend that I was going to be crafting a recipe for the 3rd Annual Marx Foods Morel Mushroom Competition, and she asked what I’d do if I won 2 lbs. of fresh morels as the grand prize.  I told her I’d probably roll around in them in a giggle fit, I love them so.  The little earthy caps of goodness are so worthy of reverence, you can’t help but be overjoyed with the prospect of cooking something incredible with them.  They make me want to move to Minnesota, the state that has named the morel as their official mushroom.  Of course the morel mushroom has an invite to my party.

Since the chefs in the competition have been tasked to create “an original hors d’oeuvre recipe using dried morels,” I wanted to come up with something worthy of fireworks.  I mean, if this dish was to set off my party with a bang and feature the complex flavors of the morel mushroom, it’d need to be amazing. So of course I needed to invite filet mignon to the soiree and some bearnaise to bring it all home.  Now we’re talking!

Photo © Angela GunderThis mini version of beef wellington is elevated to the utmost of decadence with the addition of morel mushrooms.  Coupled with melted leeks and a delicate bearnaise soaked up by all the nooks and crannies in the mushrooms, the small bite belies huge flavors.  These can be served as small bites (speared with a sprig of rosemary for a fun take on a skewer) or plated with a pool of bearnaise and leeks to attack with a vengeance.  Either way, if this is your first bite of the night, know that the tone has been set for a party worth remembering.  You should totally come.  And bring that Dom P you know I like so much.  We’re getting bubbly tonight.

Mini Beef Wellington with Morel Bearnaise and Melted Leeks

2 oz. dried morel mushrooms
2 c. of beef stock
2 c. of water

2 sprigs of tarragon
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup white wine
4 egg yolks
1 stick and 1 tbs. of butter, melted
1/8 tsp of white pepper
salt to taste

4 tbs. of butter
1 shallot
8 oz. of mild flavored mushrooms (oyster, white button, crimini or chanterelle), finely chopped
1/8 tsp. of black pepper
1/4 tsp. of white pepper
1/4 tsp of tarragon
1 tsp. of salt

2 leeks, white and pale green parts only
3 tbs. of butter
1/8 tsp. white pepper
1/8 tsp. of salt

3 filet mignon steaks
1 tbs. dijon mustard
12 slices of pancetta
salt and pepper
1 box of puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
1 tbs. of cream

Prep the Morels
Bring the beef stock and water to a boil.  Add morel mushrooms and turn off the heat.  Put a lid on the pot and allow the mushrooms to steep in the beef stock for at least a half an hour.

Make the White Wine Reduction
Add the white wine, wine vinegar, shallot and tarragon to a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil and then reduce the liquid to about 2-3 tablespoons.  Strain mixture and set aside to cool.

Make the Duxelle
Melt butter over low heat in a skillet.  When melted, crank up heat to medium and add your chopped shallot and mushrooms.  Stir gently to keep from sticking, and keep heat on the low side so as to not color the mushrooms.  When veggies are tender, add black pepper, white pepper, tarragon and salt.  Taste for seasoning and correct if necessary.  Continue to cook over medium low until the mushrooms absorb all of the juices released and the mixture forms a semi-dry paste.  Chop half of the morel mushrooms and mix them into the duxelle.  Set aside and allow to cool.

Melt the Leeks
Cut the leeks in half lengthwise and rinse thoroughly to remove any dirt or sand.  Finely chop the leeks.  Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat and add the leeks.  Cook gently until tender, about 10 minutes.  Set aside.

Assemble the Wellington
Preheat the oven to 425°.  Flour a cutting board and lay out your puff pastry. Flour a rolling pin and roll out sheet into a slightly larger square.  Cut into 6 squares and top each one with a slice of pancetta.  Spoon a few tablespoons of the mushroom duxelle on top of the pancetta.  Cut each of the filets into four cubes and season with coarse salt and cracked pepper.  Brush the cut sides with a small amount of dijon mustard and place on top of the duxelle.  Top with some more duxelle and bring the corners of the puff pastry together in the center to close up the package.  Place the mini wellington seam side down on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat until all of the cubes have been wrapped.  Cut a small cross into the tops of each of the parcels.  In a small bowl, beat together the egg and cream.  Brush the tops of the puff pastry with the egg wash and sprinkle with kosher salt and cracked pepper.  Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and lovely.  Let rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Make the Bearnaise
Melt the butter – I like to use a pyrex because it’s easy to pour.  Put the 4 egg yolks and vinegar reduction into the blender and mix on low. Slowly stream in half of the melted butter and allow to emulsify.  Crank up the speed to high and stream in the rest of the butter.  Your sauce will be thick and bright yellow, like a slightly loose mayonnaise.  Season with salt and white pepper to taste.  Chop the rest of the morel mushrooms and fold into the bearnaise, along with half of the leeks.  Keep warm until ready to serve.

Plate and Serve
To serve, spread a bit of the bearnaise on the bottom of a plate.  Slice one of the wellingtons in half.  Mound a small amount of the remaining leeks on the plate and top with a wellington half.  Add the morel mushrooms to the side of the wellington and garnish with chives or a rosemary sprig (or both).  Call up the crew and kick boredom’s ass with an impromptu party of the most fabulous kind.

If you’d like to serve as a passable appetizer, cut wellingtons into quarters.  Spear each quarter with a sprig of rosemary with the leaves removed from the woodier portion of the stem, allowing you to use it as a skewer.  Mix all of the leeks into the bearnaise and serve in a bowl on the side for dipping.

Maitake Bread Pudding with Morel Velouté

Getting Into Trouble in the AM

When Elizabeth Crouch of Marx Foods asked if I’d be interested in their upcoming Morel Mushroom Competition, I nearly spit out my plate of spam and baked beans.  Kidding, you know I don’t eat mystery meat.  But I was surprised, honored and incredibly excited.  An opportunity to cook with 1 oz. of morels and a chance to win two pounds of fresh morels?  Bring it on!

Continue reading Maitake Bread Pudding with Morel Velouté

Morel Mushroom Bacon, Egg and Cheese

Rob From the Rich and Give Truffles to the Poor

I know what you are thinking.  Based on the fancy pants ingredients in this dish and the haute descriptions, this seems like something reserved for trust-fund babies and old money fat cats.  Not the case, plebian reader.  I like to think of this as superior breakfast for the adventurous palette.  Got a little time after a hard week and want to treat yourself to something lovely?  Snag the ingredients for truly THE best bacon, egg and cheese of all time.  I’m talkin’ eternity.

Morel Mushroom Bacon, Egg and Cheese © Spice or Die

This recipe is a lovely tower of creamy eggs, rich goat cheese bechamel, savory morel mushrooms, and prosciutto baked until crispy as bacon.  The whole mix is atop a toasted round of brioche (cut with a $1 ring mold – pick one up and start impressing folks with your presentation skills) and topped with seasonal violets and leaves of fresh thyme.  I usually tell people to make dishes for people that they love, but this is reserved for people in the upper echelons of your love contingency.  Like the top 5.

Truthfully, you can go into this very budget-mindedly without sacrificing on taste.  Brioche can be replaced with challah or another cheaper, eggy bread.  Goat’s milk cheese can be acquired for a reasonable price and at most grocery stores.  Same deal with the prosciutto.  There is no replacement for morels and truffle oil, but they are your only splurge and you won’t be using a lot of them.  If you want my opinion, although it won’t be nearly as luxe, you could get away with replacing the morels with a super fresh in-season mushroom and leave out the truffle oil.  Not the same dish, but still decadent as hell.  But really, get the truffle oil.  You use so little and if you’ve never had truffles before, you need to.  You really, really, really need to.  Like now.

This recipe was born from our attempts (and by our, I mean my friends Richard and Amy, whom I invited to help me cook and who brought the lovely violets that I think make the presentation) to create an award-winning entry into the Marx Foods Morel Mushroom Competition.  We were sent 1 oz. of morel mushrooms and asked to make something lovely.  Well, creative kids that we are, we ended up making two dishes, and this, my darlings, is the runner up.  Can you believe that we found something crazy enough to guild the proverbial lily? And it wasn’t truffled eggs?  Make this one first, and then if you want to up the decadence, read our entry in the competition.  By the way, I’d be remiss in not thanking Justin Marx for his inclusion of my humble site in the short list of competitors.  Talk about good people 🙂  Not to mention their products are ever-so-lovely – I spend hours just thinking how much damage I can do with their fabulous ingredients.  A cook’s dream.

But I digress, as it’s time for some decadence. This recipe is NOT hard to cook.  In fact, the hardest part is the grocery shopping.  It does, however, go in stages, with all of the components assembled at the last minute.  It’s forgiving, though, so take your time stirring and assembling, and maybe enlist those aforementioned people you love in putting the whole thing together. And then get them to wash the dishes.

Morel Bacon, Egg and Cheese (Truffled Eggs on Brioche with Morels, Goat Cheese and Prosciutto Chip)

1/4 oz. of dried morels
1 c. of chicken stock
2 tbs of butter

3 slices of brioche
2 tbs. of butter

2 prosciutto slices

2 tbs. of butter
2 tbs. of flour
2 c. of milk
1/3 c. of cream
1 c. of mild goats milk cheese, grated (we used Midnight Moon Goat from Whole Foods, but use whatever you like, to include 8 oz. of mild soft goat cheese)
pinch of black pepper
pinch of white pepper
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of cayenne
1 tsp. of salt

6 eggs
2 tbs. of truffle oil
3 tbs. of butter
1 tsp. of salt
1 tsp. of white pepper
2 tbs. of cream

violet blossoms
fresh thyme leaves

Round one – prep your morels.  Bring your stock to a boil and plunk in your morels.  Cover and let sit for 30 minutes or until mushrooms are puffy and lovely.  Strain, making sure any grit is poured out with the chicken broth.  Slice morels in half and sauté in a pan with 2 tbs. of butter on medium love until soft – about 3-4 minutes.  Set aside.

Round two – begin by prepping your brioche.  Cut out slices from a loaf, or if you want to be ultra fancy, cut out rounds using a 3″ ring mold.  Cookie cutters also work well.  Plunk 2 tbs. of butter into a skillet and melt on low heat.  Turn up the heat to medium low and toast the bread on each side until golden.  Set aside.

Round three – make your prosciutto chips (and you can skip this step, my vegetarian darlings).  Line a baking pan with foil and crank your oven to 450°.  Lay prosciutto flat on the baking pan, making sure that the pieces aren’t touching.  Place in the oven and bake until crispy and dark rose, about 10-12 minutes.  Check once or twice to make sure that it doesn’t burn – there’s not much fat on the prosciutto so they can cook quickly depending on the thickness of the slices.  Set aside.

Round four – make your bechamel (cream sauce).  Melt 2 tbs. of butter in the same pot you sautéed your morels in on medium low.  Whisk in the flour and stir until smooth and all incorporated – about 1 minute or so.  Slowly add your milk in dribs and drabs, whisking to prevent lumps.  Keep on whisking and crank the heat to medium to coax the sauce into thickening.  When it gets lovely and creamy, pour in the heavy cream.  Whisk and add the black pepper, white pepper, cayenne, nutmeg and salt.  Turn off the heat and whisk in the grated cheese.  If you are using goat cheese instead of a hard goat’s milk cheese that can be grated, just toss spoonfuls of it into the sauce and stir.  Taste for salt and pepper and correct seasoning.  Set aside.

Round five – egg action.  Scramble together 6 eggs, truffle oil, salt and white pepper.  Melt 3 tbs. of butter in a skillet on low and then slowly pour in your eggs.  Keep your heat LOW the whole time and gently stir your eggs as small curds form delicately.  This is a slow process, but not complicated.  Just keep stirring until the eggs are creamy and shiny and still a little wet.  Pour in the cream and turn off the heat.

Now, for the big finish – grab some plates and put a piece of brioche on each.  If you are going for fancy presentation, put the ring mold over the brioche and gently put 1/3 of the eggs right into the ring mold.  Otherwise, just portion the eggs right over the toasted brioche however you’d like.  Split the morels amongst the three plates of eggs.  Drizzle a couple of tablespoons of goat cheese bechamel over the works.  Sprinkle the thyme leaves and the violets over the entire plate.  Spear the top of the eggs with a shard of prosciutto.

Tuck into some majesty.