What I find remarkable about Georgian food is its simplicity. Made with a delicate touch of care and spices, the country's traditional dishes are tasty and approachable. Soko kecze translates to stuffed mushrooms in a clay pot - though you don't really need a claypot to roast them at home. This recipe makes mushrooms that are unbelievably flavorful, roasted with butter, then a second time with some cheese inside it. It's an easy-to-make side dish for any main dish.
What is Soko Kecze?
This recipe one is easy to explain - it's a bunch of mushrooms hollowed out then stuffed with cheese. They are roasted upside in a ketsi - the Georgian word for a clay pot. The butter and cheese inside the mushrooms mix with the juices as the mushrooms cook in the oven. It's quite a heavenly umami-filled dish!
Ingredients For Soko Kecze
You can effortlessly reproduce many Georgian dishes in your kitchen. But there is the exception of sourcing some hard-to-find seasoning and spices like adjika and blue fenugreek mentioned in this recipe. These spices are optional to this recipe; you can season the mushrooms to your preference. Luckily, major markets like Trader Joe's have made adjika accessible outside of Georgia.
- Oyster Mushrooms: These are called kama mushrooms in Georgian and large ones are the perfect shape for filling.
- Unsalted Butter: This recipe calls for unsalted butter so you can control the salt levels in the mushrooms. Use cold butter, so it's easier to slice into cubes and place inside the mushrooms. But room temperature works as well.
- Sulguni or Mozzarella Cheese: Mild, melting cheese is the perfect choice for stuffing these mushrooms. Sulguni, a Georgian-style cheese, is not easy to find, but it's very similar to low-moisture mozzarella cheese.
- Vegetable Oil: If you plan to season the mushrooms, then use a little oil on the mushrooms before adding them to the pan. It will help make the spices adhere to the mushrooms and crisp a bit on the surface.
- Salt & Pepper: Use these staple spices to your liking.
- Adjika (optional): This special Georgian is prepared by mixing pepper, garlic, and salt, among other spices. Adjika also comes in various forms, such as paste or powder. It is its own unique taste that is also spicy and garlicky.
- Blue Fenugreek (optional): The blue fenugreek plant only grows in the mountain of Switzerland and the Caucasus, so this spice is a rare find.
How to Make Soko Kecze
The steps are relatively easy but take some time. Before you do anything, preheat your oven so it's ready for the mushrooms.
- Wash the mushrooms by scrubbing them gently. Most of the dirt should come off. Then carefully remove the stems. Try to trim a bit of the hollow hole without breaking the mushroom in half.
- Slice up cubes of butter that are big enough to fit inside the holes.
- Add the seasoning and spices in a bowl along with some vegetable oil. Mix everything together and toss the mushrooms in to coat them with the mixture.
- Place the mushrooms upside in a baking dish and place the butter cubes inside each one.
- Bake the stuffed mushrooms in the oven for about fifteen to twenty minutes until all the butter has melted.
- Meanwhile, slice the cheese into small cubes that fit into the mushroom.
- Remove the mushrooms from the oven and carefully place the cheese on top of each one. Then bake again for another fifteen minutes until the cheese completely melts.
- To brown the cheese, set the oven to broil for five minutes.
How to Serve
Serve the stuffed mushrooms immediately as a side to any meal. Soko kecze are great when hot, while the cheese is easy to pull. Get creative with whatever seasoning you have in your pantry. This will quickly become a go-to accompaniment to many dishes!
Cheese Stuffed Mushroom (Soko Kecze)
- 9 medium or large sized oyster mushrooms
- cold butter, cubed
- sulguni or mozzarella cheese, cubed
- 2 teaspoon vegetable oil
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon adjika optional; use more if you want it more spicy
- 1 teaspoon blue fenugreek powder optional
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F)
- Gently scrub and wash the mushrooms, then remove the stems creating a hollow in the middle.
- Add the spices and oil to a bowl then mix with a fork or small whisk.
- Add the cleaned and hollowed out mushrooms then gently mix with a spatula to coat them with the seasoning.
- Place the mushrooms in a pan upside, add pats or cubes of the butter into the hold. Bake for 15 mins.
- Remove from the oven and add the cheese cubes. Bake for an additional 15 minutes. Set the oven to broil for the last 5 minutes. Bake until some of the cheese has browned.
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