Mushroom Casserole

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!

Mushroom Casserole

Serves 4, adapted from BBC Good Food

Ingredients:

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

Method:

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!

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