Baked Camembert with Porcini Mushrooms and Figs
serves: serves 12-16 as an appetizer
All week, I have been sharing our Thanksgiving recipes and as you can tell by the time-frames for each one, I spent all day working on them. I wanted to serve a dish on the table while I finished off everything for the main course. I was roasting our goat all day and had various dishes in different states of completion all over the kitchen when my little brother first asked for “snacks”. Today’s recipe was the snack that I offered.
Here is a little recap of our Chez Nous Dinners style Thanksgiving! I have never quite got along with the traditional Thanksgiving menu though. For me, the holiday is an opportunity to invite all of my international friends and family over to create our own traditions. Most folks our age go to visit their families for the holiday, however, most of our international friends don’t get to participate. The holiday is an American tradition, and a 4 day weekend is generally too short to warrant a $1000 flight home. In come the Russians. My parents and I have made our own tradition of inviting folks over to share the holiday with us…our style. And since Nico and I moved to out new home with our big kitchen, we have been hosting our International Thanksgivings.
To start off our meal, and to placate everyone while I was finishing cooking, I served a baked Camembert with sautéed porcini mushrooms and shallots sweetened with some fig jam. I love cheese, but have never been a fan of Camembert on my cheese plate, but I do love it baked with some jam! Imagine a baked brie enveloped by puff pastry and topped with some raspberries and walnuts, what could be better? I wanted to make our dish a bit more savory and a tad less buttery so I went with searing some porcini with shallots baked over the Camembert. Everything can be assembled ahead of time, and just stick it in the oven for 10 minutes to warm up before serving. The temperature is not really important, so you can add it to the oven with your turkey/goat/lamb/ham or whatever else is roasting in there!
Serve it with some sliced up fresh baguette. Try my French Baguette recipe here!
So while everyone was snacking away at our appetizer, I had a good half an hour to finish preparing the rest of my thanksgiving meal!
I was never a huge fan of turkey, so I generally prefer to make a big lamb roast. This year, I wanted to make a whole baby goat or lamb! My friend Anwar looked for one for me, and in the end sold me an entire half of a full grown goat, which made a beautiful roast! Check out my recipe for Roast Half Goat with Anchovy, Garlic, and White Wine here!
As friends started to RSVP, I learned that some folks aren’t into lamb and goat, so I decided to add a beef dish. I came across his Ravioli à la monégasque recipe and was hooked! A ravioli filled with chard, spinach, cheeses, and a bit of lamb’s brain (because why wouldn’t you?) is served on top of a stew of beef braised in red wine with carrots and herbs, very much like a Boeuf Bourguignon. Try our Ravioli à la Monégasque recipe here!
As people RSVPd, we had more dietary restrictions, so we also served a gorgeous Lobster dish! I was leafing through Alain Ducasse’s book and came across this combination of lobster and fresh truffle, perfect for our fish eaters. I loved a lot of Ducasse’s recipe and was inspired by his flavor profile, but have simplified this recipe to make it easier for the home cook. Check out our Lobster and Summer Truffle Spaghetti recipe here!
We finished our meal with a beautiful trifecta of desserts! We served our favorite Cannelés Bordelais, a traditional Russian Smetannik, and my single bow to American flavors, a Cranberry Custard Tart. Stay tuned for all of those recipes later this week!
- 2 pounds Camembert
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 large shallots, sliced
- 4 cups porcini mushrooms, rehydrated, reserve mushroom water for another purpose
- salt and pepper
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 1 cup fig jam
- water to thin
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Sautée shallot in butter and oil for about 3 minutes.
Add mushrooms, salt, pepper, and thyme leaves. Sautée for 7-10 minutes.
- Add fig jam and sautée for a few minutes longer. Add water if you need to thin it out a bit.
- Place in a baking dish with cheese and bake for 7-10 minutes.