holidays & recipes: beggars purse
These adorable little sacks remind us of exactly what they are called, beggar’s purse. These are a beautiful addition to the Elegant Christmas Dinner menu. While the Cornish game hens, stuffing and Brussels sprouts were quite easy to make, these beggar’s purses will require a little more attention. That being said, they are quite inexpensive as the ingredients are not extensive and they are seasonally available.
We recommend taking your time when making these, following the directions carefully and you will find your guests oohing and ahhing at the results. The beggar’s purses present wonderfully, letting your guest know you have taken a little extra care to make their Christmas special.
An Elegant Christmas Dinner Menu
Beggar’s Purse (Martha Stewart’s Holiday book.)
4 Leeks, washed thoroughly
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 lbs of mixed mushrooms
1-2 tablespoons of fresh crushed thyme leaves
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/4 cup of sherry, Madeira Wine or vegetable broth
6 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed in refrigerator
8 tablespoons (1 stick), unsalted butter melted
1. To prepare leeks, cut away the blue/green leaves on top and trim the base. (Save a few of the dark green tops to use for the ties). Peel away the first layer. Slice the leeks in 1/4″ rings from top to bottom. Using your finger, push through each sliced ring and drop into a bowl with cold water. Let soak for a few minutes. (Do not skip this step. Leeks can retain the sand in which they are grown.)
2. Drain the leeks in a colander over the sink. Rinse thoroughly with cold water.
3. Sauté leeks over medium heat in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until soft, about 5 minutes. Do not brown. Remove from skillet.
4. Add remaining olive oil to skillet. Sauté mushrooms over medium heat until mushrooms are soft.
5. When mushrooms are soft add the leek mixture to the skillet. Add the thyme, salt, pepper and Sherry, Madeira Wine or broth. Cook over high heat, stirring until all liquid is reduced to a syrupy consistency. Set aside.
6. . Carefully unwrap the phyllo pastry and unroll flat. Cover with a damp dish towel to prevent the dough from drying out. Lay out a sheet of phyllo and brush it sparingly with melted butter. Add a sheet on top of this one, brush with butter and repeat until you have 3 sheets. Cut the sheet into 4 rectangles.
7. Place 1/3 cup of the leek/mushroom mixture in the center of the rectangle.
8. Fold the centers of the sides inward to prevent the mixture from spilling out and pinch closed creating the look of a beggar’s purse (a sack).
9. Repeat with rest of mixture and sheets of phyllo pastry.
10. . Place beggar’s purses on an ungreased cookie sheet. When all purses are on the sheet, place the cookie sheet with purses in the freezer for 5-10 minutes, chilling until firm.
11. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake for approximately 15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven.
12. Take the green part of the leek and cut into thin strips. Tie a small strip around each beggar’s purse. (If the green part of the leek is not very pliable simply microwave it for 10-20 seconds. It will turn bright green and be more pliable.) Serve the beggar’s purse hot.