Spectacular is the first word that comes to mind when we try to describe our winning recipe this year. Not only is Merry Graham's entry spectacularly delicious and innovative, it's also spectacular visually, with a golden flaky puff pastry enclosing a plump and tasty filling of onions, mushrooms, pears, bacon and cheese.
When we contacted Merry to let her know that she'd won the contest, her reply was simple: "Ahhh, you just made my day! " She spends part of almost every day concocting new recipes in her Santa Clarita, CA kitchen. Her passion for developing tasty dishes was ignited in 2009 when she discovered the world of recipe contests. "I love recipe contests that have required ingredients. It sparks my creativity!"
The galette is layered with tasty ingredients!
Mary e-mailed us that when she baked her first MadAboutMushroms galette, she sent one piece over to a neighbor, and then proceeded to eat the remainder of the galette by herself, confessing she just couldn't resist it. Her neighbor soon called and raved about the unique combination of flavors. At this point, Merry was so excited that she rushed to post the recipe on her Facebook page, and very soon started to get positive feedback from there, too. We're confident that your friends will also want the recipe...it really is spectacular.
Many thanks to all of you who contributed the several hundred recipes that we received this year. The entries ranged from the simple to the complex. Some recipes included amazing graphics while others included step-by-step photographs with their directions. Some recipes were take offs on old favorites such as Marcy Kamery's "Magic Mushroom Mac and Cheese," while others were in a category of their own, such as Marybeth Mank's "Soft Apricot-'Shroom Oatmeal Cookies" and Chef Barry Greenberg's "Roasted Mushroom and Whipped Potato Pizza." Some were strictly American flavors while others incorporated international flavors such as Sampa Ghosh's "Mushroom Keema" and Annette Pettit's "Korean Mushrooms 3-Ways." Some recipes arrived with stories of time spent on the beautiful Oregon coast, while other entrants testified to their love of wild mushrooms. We laughed when one person addressed her contribution to the "Mad Mushroom people"...well, she might be right about that!
Once again, a sincere "thank you" to everyone - we appreciated your enthusiastic responses and thoughtful submissions to our recipe contest!
Smoky Caramelized Mushroom Pear Galette
1 frozen pastry sheet, about 9 ounces
2 tablespoons raw sugar
1 red onion, sliced thinly
8 ounces of your favorite mushrooms (we used freshly picked hedgehogs)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 cup peeled Bartlett pear chunks, 1/4" deep x 1 inch long
4 slices crisp bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup Quattro Formaggio Cheese (shredded Parmesan, Asiago, Fontina and Provolone)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil.
- Thaw pastry sheet at room temperature for 40 minutes or overnight in the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a large cookie sheet, set aside.
- In a frying pan, over medium-high heat begin to heat sugar 2 minutes. Add onions. Stir and cook for 2 more minutes. Add mushrooms, oil, paprika, lemon pepper and salt. Stir and cook for 2 more minutes. Turn down heat to low, pour in vinegar and lemon juice. Add zest. Cook mushrooms until soft.
- Unfold pastry dough on the center of a cookie sheet in about a 9 inch x 10 inch rectangle. Distribute pears in a single layer over dough, leaving about 1.5 inch edge. Top the pears with the mushroom mixture, bacon bits, and sprinkle with cheese. Fold 1 inch pastry edges and corners over mushroom mixture, pinching corners and edges together to help hold. Bake in oven for 30 minutes. Turn off oven, leaving galette in oven for an 10 additional minutes. Remove from oven. Cool 5 minutes, top with basil and serve. Serves 4. This is a lovely dish served at room temperature!
Bacon tip: An easy way to cook the bacon is in the microwave. Lay bacon on 4 stacked paper towels and cover with a paper towel. On high heat, cook for 4 minutes, remove any crisp bacon and continue at 30 second intervals until all bacon is crisp.
Cheese tip: If your store doesn't carry Quattro Formaggio Cheese (Trader Joe's), then grate some Provolone or Fontina and add a little Parmesan or Asiago.
Congraulations to Merry, our contest winner!