Friday, January 10, 2014

Martin the Warrior's mushroom turnovers

I am privileged to live with interesting young people. One of them discovered Brian Jacques' Redwall series of novels in childhood (think good medieval mice, and other woodland creatures, battling bad medieval rats). Now this young person not only still enjoys the books, but has also set herself the project of cooking all the foods mentioned in them.

It's a lot of food -- and she is not the only aficionado (-nada?) who does this. It seems the late Mr. Jacques was known for his love of food, and depicted his mice and woodland creatures feasting for a purpose. (He once explained that the wartime rationing of his childhood affected him.) His readers have taken up his enthusiasms. They buy and cook from officially published, if slim, Redwall cookbooks. They also do free-form cooking based on Redwall, because not every scene of revelry in the twenty-three novels includes recipes. Needless to say they also write blogs and manage websites about cooking from Redwall.

Some fans, like the interesting young person in my house, simply go on-line and search independently for recipes to plug into place when it's time to create a dish mentioned in Loam Hedge or Pearls of Lutra. Scarcely can the good people at Williams-Sonoma, for example, have realized that their recipe for holiday mushroom turnovers will do excellently when we want to cook from Martin the Warrior

Here then for the first time is something like a guest post at At First Glass: I did not make these. I can assure you however that the good people at Williams-Sonoma know what they are doing. The turnovers are excellent. I enjoyed five more than my share at one sitting on a drab winter Sunday afternoon, washing them down with my "house cocktail," a delicious and tangy rum sour. The afternoon instantly turned far less drab.

Martin the Warrior's (by way of Williams-Sonoma) mushroom turnovers*

  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 3 Tbs. finely chopped shallot
  • 12 oz. cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 oz. Gruyère cheese, grated
  • 1 batch double-crust pie dough, divided into 2 disks and chilled (see related recipe, or use mine)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 Tbs. water


In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter with the olive oil. Add the shallot and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms, thyme and rosemary, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are tender, 6 to 7 minutes. Add the cream and simmer for about 15 seconds, then remove from the heat. Fold in the cheese. Let the filling cool to room temperature.

Preheat an oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let stand for 5 minutes. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough into a large rectangle about 1/8 inch thick.

Cut the dough into squares measuring about 3 inches by 3 inches.* Lightly brush their edges with some of the egg wash. Fill with a scant 1 Tbs. of the mushroom filling (do not overfill), fold over and press together, and place on the prepared baking sheet. Gently pinch together any edges that are not fully crimped. Repeat with the remaining pastry rectangles and filling.

Lightly brush the tops and edges of the pastries with egg wash. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving. Makes 24 turnovers.

*The original recipe is written to make use of a special pastry press which helps shape and cut the turnovers into uniform packages. Interesting Young Person rolled out the pastry and assembled everything by hand.

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