Last week, I happened to catch a wonderful show on public television called Hubert Keller, Secrets of a Chef. I was totally wowed out by a creation he made, and went to his website to find the recipe and try it myself. I present to you my adaptation of his fantastic idea (it makes an ooh-aah presentation, too!)
Wild mushroom ragout in a puff pastry-capped potato shell
1 ounce dried porcini or chanterelle mushrooms
2 cups warm water
1 1/2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
10 shitake mushrooms, diced
2 tablespoons shallots, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 small carrot, thinly sliced
1 medium leek, white part only, julienned
2 tablespoons wine vinegar
8 fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons chives, finely sliced
1 whole tomato, diced
4 russet potatoes (about 12 ounces each)
4 ounces of puff pastry dough
1 egg yolk, whisked
Place the dried mushrooms in a bowl and add the warm water. Let it soak for 30 minutes to an hour. Remove the mushrooms and strain the liquid to remove any grit. Set the liquid aside. Dice the rehydrated mushrooms.
Heat 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil in a non-stick saute pan and saute the re-hydrated mushrooms, fresh mushrooms and shallots over medium heat, for 5-7 minutes, until shallots begin to turn color. Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper. Remove pan from the heat and set aside.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and saute the onion, carrot and leek for 8-10 minutes, until browned and caramelized. Deglaze the pan with the vinegar. Add the mushroom soaking liquid, basil, parsley, garlic, soy sauce, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer 12 – 15 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Strain into a small saucepan, add the sauteed mushrooms, the chives and tomato, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, adjust the seasonings, and keep warm.
Cut a 1/2″ slice off one end of each potato, and a diagonal slice off the other end of each potato. With a melon baller, hollow out the potatoes from the diagonal end, taking care not to break through the skin or the other end. Discard the scooped-out flesh. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil and add the potato shells. Lower the heat and simmer gently for 10-12 minutes or until tender. Remove the potatoes and drain well. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and stand the potato shells on the baking sheet. Fill the sheels with the ragout (the ragout should not come up higher than the edge of the potatoes).
Roll out the pastry dough on a lightly floured work surface to a thickness of 1/16″. With a knife, cut out 4 ovals just a little larger than the top of the potatoes. Brush the dough and the edge of the potatoes with the egg yolk. Lay the dough over the filling, and press very lightly to form a seal. Place the potatoes in the oven and cook for 12 – 14 minutes, or until the pastry dough is golden brown.
Place the finished potatoes on a serving platter and spoon the remaining ragout around the potatoes.