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Wild Mushroom Strudel
Serves 4 as a main course

There is a variety of cultivated mushroom species on the market today, which is very good news for fungi fanatics like me. Besides the agaricus mushrooms (white button, cremini and portobello), and the long time specialty mushrooms oysters and shitake, I can now buy hen of the woods (my favorite), royal trumpets, beech, and enoki. You don’t need to wash cultivated mushrooms, as they are grown in a sterile environment.

2 lbs mixed mushrooms, trimmed and sliced (cut off any hard bits--I save such bits to add to stock)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, peeled and minced
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups homemade or organic chicken or mushroom stock (see note)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons fresh thyme
8 14-inch by 18-inch sheets phyllo pastry (have some extra sheets on hand in case of rippage)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté until they are tender and give up their water, 10 to 15 minutes.

In a separate large nonstick pan heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over a medium heat. Add the onions and cook them fro about 5 minutes, until they are translucent. Add the flour and stir to coat the onions. Gently add the stock, stirring all the while. If the stock bubbles very rapidly, turn down the heat a bit. After all the stock is added the sauce will start to thicken right up. Add the zest, seasoning, and thyme. If the sauce is too tight, add a little more stock, or water to loosen it up. It should be like a thick gravy. Add the sautéed mushrooms and combine. Take the mixture off the heat.

Prepare the phyllo. Line a large cookie sheet with a piece of parchment (if you don’t have parchment it is okay). Lay down a sheet of phyllo. Brush with the melted butter, and lay down another sheet, building up until you have used all 8 sheets.

Spoon the mushroom mixture along the 18-inch length of the phyllo and carefully roll it like a log up the 12-inch side. Fold in the ends, tucking as you roll, to create a tidy log. Place the strudel seam side down on the cookie sheet. Brush melted butter over the top and sides of the strudel.

Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden brown.

Note: You can make mushroom stock by adding dried porcini mushrooms to boiling water, simmering for about 30 minutes, then draining. For Phyllo handling tips go to athensfoods.com.

Place the tray with the tart on it into the oven and cook until it is set and golden, about 20 minutes. Allow the tart to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.