I’ve been listening to the same playlist for the last oh, I don’t know, forever. I’ve got the songs down pat by now. I could sing them in my sleep. I could sing them in my sleep while doing the moonwalk to their rhythms (ending each song with double dream hands, natch).
You’d think I’d be sick of this playlist by now, and you’d be right. But it’s part of this weird thing I do when a huge change is just around the corner — I hold onto anything and everything that feels familiar and safe until I’m forced to leave my cocoon and I kick and whine and yell all the way through the transition. Once I land, I’m fine again, and I start listening to a new playlist. You know, try new things. Branch out. But for now, it’s all about this well-worn one. And the double dream hands.
Funny thing is, when it comes to baking, I react the opposite way. Instead of laser-focusing on the same, simple, familiar recipe, I go a little crazy in the kitchen. I put fruit on my pizza. I put bourbon in my pancakes. I stuff things in other things. It’s just another weird thing I do. And that’s how these goat cheese, onion and spinach-stuffed rolls came along.
I know this isn’t the craziest concoction you’ve ever heard of (in the era of cake ball cakes, Oreo-stuffed cheesecake cupcakes and anything on a stick, what is, right?), but the world of stuffed rolls isn’t something I’ve ventured to very often, if ever. I’ve made calzones and stromboli, sure, but rolls? Rolls were new. And I’m glad, in some ways, that this change is coming along — because otherwise, I might not have had the pleasure of trying one of these rolls, filled with savory, cheesy and caramelized onion-y goodness, thereby wondering where stuffed rolls had been all my life. I guess they were here all along, right under my nose. I just needed a little push out of my cocoon to get me there.
Chevre, Onion & Spinach-Stuffed Rolls
A Girl Versus Dough original
Yields: 15 rolls
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/3 cups warm water (~115 degrees F)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium Vidalia onion, halved and sliced
1 bunch spinach, stems removed
2 ounces goat cheese
egg wash (1 beaten egg + 1 tablespoon water)
red pepper flakes
coarse sea salt
grated Parmesan cheese
pizza sauce, for dipping (optional)
In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together flours and salt. Make a well in the center and add water, sugar and yeast. Let stand until yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes. Add olive oil and mix until just combined.
Knead dough on a lightly floured surface, adding more flour as needed until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes; OR, knead dough with dough hook in stand mixer, adding more flour as needed until dough pulls away from sides of the bowl and is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Shape dough into a ball and place in a large bowl. Top with a bit of olive oil and roll to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, make the filling: Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add butter, then add onion. Cook onion until caramelized, about 15 minutes. Add spinach and cook until just wilted. Remove from heat and place in a bowl. Stir in goat cheese. Place mixture on a cutting board and chop roughly. Return to bowl and set aside.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish; set aside. When dough is doubled, punch down, remove from bowl and roll out on a lightly floured surface into a large rectangle, about 12 by 15 inches.
Divide dough into 15 rectangles. Top the center of each rectangle with a generous tablespoon or so of filling (be sure to use all the filling). Lift up the four corners of the dough over the filling and pinch to secure; lift remaining corners and pinch to seal the dough completely around the filling. Place roll seam-side down in prepared casserole dish. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough.
Brush rolls with egg wash and sprinkle with red pepper flakes and sea salt to taste. Bake until rolls are a deep golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle lightly with grated Parmesan cheese. Return to oven to melt cheese, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from oven and serve warm with pizza sauce, if desired.