So here we are in the lull of Thanksgiving weekend. For some, I know it’s not really a lull. For some, it’s full steam ahead into Black Friday holiday shopping and decorating for the holidays. And yes, we’ve done some online shopping, and yes we did spend Friday setting up the obnoxiously large reindeer on the front lawn, but I still consider it a lull. We are staying up late, sleeping until whenever we want (although the dogs only really allow us to snooze till 8am) and the days are sort of mushing together as we savor every moment of lazy family time. These nights are for coziness. We like to watch Elf by the fire and drink creamy bevs like Egg Nog and White Russians and have appetizers for dinner. Cheese boards are huge right now (duh) and so are these Mushroom Gruyere Toasts.
They’re warm, earthy, creamy and crusty… a feast of flavors and textures that just makes you close your eyes and smile at the first indulgent bite. I think there’s something so sexy about mushrooms and wine. And yes, I know it’s weird that I’m referring to fungi that grows in cow manure as sexy. But it is! At home date nights are super dreamy when you pop open some wine and cook together, the the aromas of mushrooms simmering with butter and wine on the stove are as good an aphrodisiac as I’ve ever experienced. These Mushroom Gruyere Toasts are elegant and sophisticated. Something about them just feels fancy.
Mushrooms come in so many varieties that it’s easy to get confused. Rest assured that I have made these toasts with plain old button mushrooms and they come out amazing. If you’re adventurous, grab some baby bellas, creminis and shitakes and mix ’em up. Most supermarkets sell a pre-packaged wild mushroom mix in the produce section. My point is, you can’t really go wrong (although I’d avoid oyster mushrooms, just too weird) so use whatever kind of mushroom you like.
I’m much more concerned with the kind of bread you’re using. As with most toasts, the bread you choose has to be able to stand up to the toppings and still remain toasty. Sourdough is my go-to bread for making toasts of any kind. It’s crusty on the outside and, when toasted, becomes stiff enough to withstand the toppings without getting too crunchy. In short, sourdough is just perfect. Whenever possible, choose a loaf that you can slice yourself so that you can control the thickness. If you’re not able to find sourdough, a quality multigrain loaf is a good substitute.
It goes without saying, but these Mushroom Gruyere Toasts are best enjoyed with a good bottle of red wine. They’re pretty filling on their own, or with a simple green salad. Just make them and enjoy, preferably by the fire while watching your favorite romantic Hallmark movie. Cheesy, maybe – but so are the toasts. Enjoy!
- 8 thick slices of sourdough bread
- 5 cups mushrooms (button, cremini, baby bella or shitake)
- 8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 cup gruyere cheese, grated
- 1 1/2 tsp. fresh thyme
- 1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup sherry
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1/4 cup shallots, minced
- 2 tsp. tomato paste
- 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 Tbsp. flour
Saute mushrooms, shallots and thyme in a skillet over medium heat until browned. Add flour and tomato paste. Cook for 1 minute.
Pour in the sherry and simmer until evaporated. Slowly add the chicken broth and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Finish with butter and vinegar. Season liberally with salt and pepper.
Heat oven to broil. Mix cream cheese and gruyere together in a bowl. Spread onto bread slices. Broil for 2 minutes. Top with mushroom mixture and additional thyme sprigs.