The second installment of Mushroom Fest: this recipe started out as a thoroughly enjoyable, substantial mushroom soup. However, one day I had a massive craving for dumplings, and chucked some in. The dumplings soaked up the excess liquid and made it into more of a casserole, and I think I prefer it like this. The rosemary gives it such a lovely flavour, the mushrooms are just so meaty, and you can’t beat a good dumpling – it’s delightful, and feels very British.
This is the only time I ever really make dumplings, so it’s a double treat (mushrooms being the other, of course). I remember when I was really young my mum used to make some kind of mince and dumplings, and I always saved the dumplings till last as they were clearly the best. In fact, that’s still how I eat them now!
Serves 4, adapted from BBC Good Food
25g porcini mushrooms
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 carrot diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp rosemary
500g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
1 litre vegetable stock
5 tbsp red wine
2 tbsp tomato puree
100g pearl barley
100g self raising flour
50g shredded vegetarian suet
2 tbsp rosemary
1. Put the porcini in a bowl with 250ml boiling water and leave to soak for 25 minutes.
2. Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onion, carrot, garlic, rosemary and seasoning over a medium heat for 5 minutes.
3. Drain and finely chop the porcini, saving the liquid. Add the porcini to the pan with the fresh mushrooms, and fry for another 5 minutes.
4. Add the stock, wine, puree, pearl barley and reserved porcini liquid. Cook for 10-15 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, make the dumplings: stir together the flour, suet and rosemary with a pinch of salt, then add 3-4 tbsp water to bind it into a soft dough. Divide into 8 small dumplings, flouring your hands if necessary to avoid sticking.
6. Add the dumplings to the pan and simmer for 15-20 minutes more, until the dumplings are fairly firm and the pearl barley is tender. Serve it up!