ARCHIVE: Fresh Figs Stuffed with Mushrooms and Pecans

Figs are common in many Middle Eastern dishes, lending sweetness and texture to soups, main dishes, and desserts. Serve these delectable mushroom-stuffed appetizers to wow your guests.

Makes 12–14 / Figs are common in many Israeli dishes, lending sweetness and texture to soups, main dishes, and desserts. Ingredient tips: Tamarind paste is an extremely tart, dark brown condiment favored in Middle Eastern cuisine (it’s also the key ingredient in Worcestershire sauce). Look for it in jars in the ethnic-foods section. Adding a bit of mascarpone cheese helps balance tamarind’s acidity; cream cheese may be substituted in a pinch. Prep tips: You can also make this with dried figs. Cover with boiling water to allow figs to soften; drain. Use a small knife to open and slightly enlarge a hole at the tips; then stuff. Serving tip: Serve alone as an appetizer, or over white rice or couscous as a side dish.

1 teaspoon butter

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/3 cup minced onion

1/3 cup minced cremini mushrooms

1/3 cup minced toasted pecans

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom, divided

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice, divided

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided

Pinch of cloves

1/4 cup tamarind paste

1 cup water

2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar, or to taste

3 tablespoons mascarpone cheese

12-14 fresh figs

1. In a medium sauté pan, heat butter and olive oil. Add onion and mushrooms and sauté until golden and tender, about 10 minutes. Add pecans and half of cardamom, allspice, and cinnamon. Add a pinch of cloves, plus salt to taste. Stir well, cooking until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

2. Add remaining cardamom, allspice, and cinnamon to pan (without cleaning it), plus tamarind paste, water, and sugar. Blend well with a whisk, and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat and continue cooking, stirring often, until sauce becomes smooth and velvety, about 5 minutes. Whisk in mascarpone cheese until smooth and sauce is heated through. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and more sweetener, if desired.

3. Slice top 1/2 inch of figs almost all the way through, but still attached. Use a 1/4-teaspoon measuring spoon to dig out fig flesh; put in a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons fig flesh to mushroom mixture and mix well. Stuff figs with mixture, overfilling slightly. Place stuffed figs in pan with sauce, spooning sauce over them. Bring to a gentle boil; then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes.

PER SERVING (1): 103 cal, 38% fat cal, 5g fat (2g mono, 1g poly, 1g sat), 5mg chol, 1g protein, 16g carb, 3g fiber, 8mg sodium

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