out of the frying pan: baked mushrooms with goats cheese and chives
A vast majority of meals I cook and the recipes I come up with are born from an empty fridge and having absolutely no idea what I feel like for dinner on any given night. It leads to my aimlessly wandering the aisles of the supermarket until a few flavours jump out at me and catch my fancy.
To be honest I probably derive far more joy from grocery shopping than any normal person should, but as someone with a limited budget, it tends to be beneficial for me to enter a supermarket without a shopping list and simply aim for reduced produce and items on sale, and to stretch my mind to try and mould the disparate ingredients I may find into a delicious whole.
This particular recipe formed in my head while desperately staring at the fruit and veg section and willing something to jump out and inspire me, and from my chive and thyme plants being the only herbs in my garden yet to be completely frazzled by the summer sun.
I’ve heard it said many times that life is too short to stuff mushrooms, but this particular dish only takes about ten minutes to prepare and twenty minutes to cook. The intensity of flavour in the finished product is well worth the minimal effort involved and is impressive enough to seem far more complicated than it actually is.
As a dinner or lunch dish the mushrooms are perfect served with a simple salad or two, and they can easily be adapted to a fancy breakfast dish with scrambled eggs and some blanched asparagus. I’m definitely going to be cooking them for my parents and brothers at least once over the Christmas break.
8 large flat mushrooms
600g goats cheese, crumbled into a bowl
a handful of fresh chives, finely chopped
a few sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked (dried thyme if more convenient)
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely diced
freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 200°C (190°C fan forced). Lay the mushrooms out on a baking tray. There’s no need to remove the stems or peel them, but if they’re looking a little bit scrappy or feel free to trim them, and wipe with dry paper towel if they look a little dirty.
2. Sprinkle each mushroom evenly with garlic and thyme. Test how salty your cheese is and if you think you need it, season the mushrooms with a tiny bit of salt.
3. Crumble cheese into a bowl. Add chives and a decent grind of black pepper and mix until combined.
4. Spoon the cheese mixture evenly into the mushrooms.
5. Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is beginning to melt and the mushrooms are cooked through.
6. Serve with a simple salad of roquette and tomato with a lemon juice and cider vinegar dressing.
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