Mushroom Walnut and Pomegranate Spread with Serrano Chili

Photo of Mushroom Walnut and Pomegranate Spread with Serrano Chili in a bowl ready to serve

Turkey Day Tid Bits
There are a lot of good things about Thanksgiving. But, one of the best, in my opinion, is that the menu is basically set. Sure, you could change things up a bit and do a different side, but you pretty much know what you are going to get. Turkey. Mashed Potatoes. Stuffing. Gravy. Cranberry Sauce. Maybe yams.

The hardest thing about Thanksgiving—again according to me—is figuring out an appetizer for the folks who linger while waiting for the main event.

Not going to lie, I usually go the easy route and grab some dips from our cheese department and put those out with some nice crackers and a veggie platter. This year I am going to put a little more effort into it. At least that is what I am saying now when we are a week out. Talk to me next Thursday…

Our Mushroom Walnut and Pomegranate Spread recipe is the hors d’oeuvre of choice for this Thanksgiving. I am choosing to serve this with crostini rather than pita slices ’cause I prefer the crunch.

Mushroom Walnut and Pomegranate Spread with Serrano Chili Recipe
Yields 4 Servings
Adapted from Shroom by Becky Selengut

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup minced shallots
1 serrano chili
1/4 cup whole walnuts
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
1 tablespoon water
2 small jarred roasted red peppers
2 cloves garlic
1/8 tsp ground chipotle powder or chili powder
Crostini or Pita Slices for serving

Preheat oven to 400º F.

Prep your ingredients
Mince the shallots and garlic. Halve the Serrano chili pepper, and remove the stem and seeds. Cut the mushrooms into 1/2-inch thick slices.

Toast the walnuts
Arrange the walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet (It can be the same sheet as the mushrooms.) and place them in the hot oven (about 5 minutes). When they start to smell toasty and begin to brown, remove them immediately and transfer them onto a plate to cool. The residual heat will continue to toast the walnuts. Allow them to cool completely before using. If you wish, reserves a few of the more attractive walnut pieces for serving.

Note that walnuts go from toasted to burnt the minute you turn your head. So, be certain to set a timer and keep your eye on them.

Roast the mushrooms
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Add the olive oil and tilt the pan to spread the oil. Add the mushrooms and toss with your hands. Arrange the mushrooms in an even layer, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast until the mushrooms have started to give off their liquid (about 7 to 8 minutes).

Stir in the shallots and chili, distributing evenly. Roast until the mushrooms have fully released their liquid and started to brown (about 10 to 12 minutes).

Make the spread
Transfer the hot mushroom mixture to a food processor and add the remaining ingredients. Process until the mixture is pureed. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.

To serve
Scoop the spread into a serving bowl and drizzle olive oil around the edges. If you have reserved some walnut pieces, you can arrange them on top of the dip.

Serve with crostini or pita slices.

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