I stood in the kitchen and stared hesitantly at the goat cheese. I needed to taste it but I was afraid. I am no stranger to goat. In Jamaica, curry goat is a favourite. No respectable celebration leaves curry goat off the menu. A dead yard (wake) isn’t a dead yard if there is no mannish water - a goat soup that’s thought to be an aphrodisiac -served. Still, I was a bit worried about this cheese. I knew it would be pungent/gamey. Too pungent for me to like it? I really wasn’t sure. But I had to taste it.
I took a breath, opened the package, and reached for a knife. I wasn’t expecting it to be that creamy - pretty much like cream cheese. I assume there are hard varieties available but this was the only one my supermarket had. I closed my eyes and took a taste. Oh. I was being dramatic for nothing. This particular brand was very very mild. The gamey goat taste was there but certainly not strong enough for me to turn away. It was nothing compared to a cup of mannish water. I could definitely handle this.
Goat cheese and mushrooms won the Crazy Ingredient Challenge this month. I had a really fun pastry planned but a friend sent me a picture of bloomin’ bread/pull apart bread/party bread (what do you call it?) and I completely changed my mind. Zero regrets. The bread is absolutely delicious! The goat cheese isn’t a gooey melter like a mozzarella but it still worked well here. I am guessing that it would be pretty difficult to mess this up. The most difficult part is slicing the bread. I used a relatively freshly baked Italian loaf and the crumb was really soft. Next time I will bake a loaf with a firmer crumb. That would make not only slicing easier but when it’s time to pull out pieces of bread, they would also come out more easily.
Goat Cheese and Mushroom Party Bread
1 round loaf of bread ( about a pound)
5 cloves of garlic, minced
½ cup butter, divided use
1 teaspoon (or to taste) red pepper flakes
8 oz mushrooms, chopped
Pinch of salt
6 oz goat cheese, softened
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Place the minced garlic and a tablespoon of butter and a teaspoon of water in a pan over low heat. Cook stirring occasionally until the garlic is straw coloured.
While the garlic is cooking, prepare the bread. Make one inch slices being careful not to cut all the way to the bottom. Turn the loaf and make one inch slices at 90 degrees to the first slices.
When the garlic is ready, add the remaining butter to the pan and stir until butter has melted. Pour off the garlic and butter into a bowl. Remove a tablespoon of the garlic butter and return to the pan to cook the mushrooms. Add the red pepper flakes to the reserved garlic butter and let it sit while you prepare the mushrooms.
Add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt to the pan and stir frequently until the mushrooms begin to release moisture. Cook for another 3- 4 minutes then remove from the heat.
Mix together the goat cheese and the cilantro.
Place the sliced loaf on a sheet of foil on a baking sheet. The sheet should be large enough to wrap around the entire loaf or you could use a second sheet to cover it. Pour the garlic (+ pepper) butter evenly between the slices of the bread. I used a spoon for this step. Stuff the mushrooms evenly between the slices then follow with the goat cheese.
Cover the loaf in foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil then bake for another 10 minutes or until the cheese is completely heated through and the edges are toasted.
- Pulling the "fingers" apart will allow the bread to toast more quickly.
- The goat cheese I used isn't a melter. Feel free to throw in your favourite melting cheese.