Some of you might remember my post with the classic Bouyiourdi with tomatoes, peppers and cheese – baked until everything melds together and awaits your anxious dipping of thy crusty bread.
This spin on Bouyiourdi will also satisfy those who love the act of dunking bread into food. Those of you who like the whole fondue ritual will adopt this dish as well. Sauteed mushrooms, sweet red onions, olive oil, a splash of cream, Graviera cheese, some fresh thyme and some spicy Boukovo (chilli flakes).
Not long ago, one would be hard-pressed to find fresh mushrooms in Greece, other than if you knew enough to seek mushrooms in Greece’s countryside and forests. Five years ago just four companies were cultivating mushrooms in Greece and now there are some thirty-five companies.
I still see some in Greece use canned/jarred mushrooms ( I cringe) but this consumption lessens year by year. The local “manaviko” (green grocer) usually has mushrooms stocked and if not visible, just ask the store clerk to get some from the back fridge. Some Greeks are still worried about eating wild mushrooms that might be lethal but again, cultivated mushrooms come to the rescue.
I’ve loved mushrooms since I was a child. They are so meaty, filling and a great vegetarian alternative to meats. As I wrote yesterday, this is “Tyrini” (Cheesefare) week in Greece (last week of Carnival) and no meat is eaten but vegetables, eggs, dairy and of course, cheeses are consumed. I am not strictly adhering to Tyrini but I think it’s still worth offering some cheese-centric dishes.
This recipe is for two, timely also for Valentines next week? If you want to serve four, double the recipe, etc. Unlike the classic Bouyiourdi (baked with cover on) this version bakes uncovered. The mushrooms are already sauteed with the onion and all you really want to do is warm the ingredients and melt the cheese.
Good crusty bread is mandatory here and again, I encourage to try making your own bread. I’ve been making the AB in 5 master recipe for a year and it’s made me a bread snob (disappointed by the bread served at many restaurants).
Mushroom Bouyiourdi (ÎœÏ€Î¿Ï…Î³Î¹Î¿Ï…ÏÏ„Î¯ Î¼Îµ Î¼Î±Î½Î¹Ï„Î¬ÏÎ¹Î±)
6-7Â Cremini mushrooms, wiped with a damp towel & halved or quartered (depending how big they are)
1 heaping Tbsp. of diced red onion
a dash of garlic powder or 1/2 clove of minced fresh garlic
8-10 cubes of Graviera cheese (or a firm Gruyere)
+ slices of Graviera to cover your baking vessel
some extra-virgin olive oil
splash of cream
sprinkle of Boukovo (chilli flakes)
1 sprig of fresh thyme (1/2 tsp.)
3-4 slices of sweet banana or cubanelle pepper
Pre-heated Broiler setting of your oven
pinch of sea salt
- In a small saucepan, add a couple of turns of olive oil over medium-high heat and add your mushrooms. Stir to coat with the oil and allow them to cook for a couple of minutes. Stir again and add a little more oil if too try. Now add the onions, garlic, a pinch of salt and stir. Place the cover on and lower the heat to medium-low and simmer for another 5 minutes. Take off the heat and allow to cool a bit.
- Cube your Graviera cheeese and add it with your mushroom mixture along with the thyme leaves, a pinch of Boukovo, splash of cream and the pepper slices. Gently toss the ingredients and place in your baking vessel.
- Top with enough slices of Graviera cheese to cover the mushroom mixture, a slice or two of green pepper, some thyme leaves and Boukovo. Place uncovered in your oven, about 10 inches from your broiler. Bake until the the topping melts and takes on a little bit of colour.
- Carefully remove from the oven, serve hot with some crusty bread and some Ouzo or Tsipouro on ice.
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