The colder nights are drawing in already, it seems the British summer was over before it began this year. But I actually love it as it gets into Autumn and then cosy winter nights with a fire and fluffy socks with big pots of steaming stew and soup bubbling away. It is that quintessential comfort food season after all.
So I’m kicking things off with comfort food at its best – a big baked mushroom stew topped with herby, fluffy potato scones instead of heavier dumplings.
To extract the most flavour from the mushrooms, I cook them over a really high heat, they release their liquid and then it reduces and reabsorbs and the mushrooms cook to golden deliciousness.
A mix of mushrooms gives interesting bite and also more depth of flavour, but using all of one kind is fine too, I prefer chestnut or portobello as they aren’t too expensive but have richness.
Use mushroom stock for an extra mushroom boost, I love the Kallo organic cubes, especially the French Onion which makes killer rice and quinoa!
I used organic products to celebrate Organic September, my organic veggies were from the new affordable range at Aldi and some of my usual organic store cupboard essentials. I used the amazing sprouted spelt flour from Rude Health but this is by no means necessary but I love the health benefits and additional flavour it gives.
Ingredients: Serves 6
- 1 large onion (halved and sliced)
- 1 leek (halved, cleaned and sliced 1cm thick)
- 1 carrot (peeled if not organic, cut into large dice)
- 600g mixed mushrooms (cleaned and roughly sliced, halved, torn, left whole if small)
- 250ml/1 cup vegan red wine
- 2 vegan stock cubes made up to 1 litre/4 cups
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 1/2 tsp dried sage
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 45g/1/3 cup sprouted spelt flour (or regular spelt, wholewheat or plain)
- 250ml/1 cup unsweetened soya or other dairy free milk
- 1 can butterbeans (1.5 cups drained)
- 1 medium potato (about 250g) baked or microwaved (about 1 cup cooked flesh)
- 155ml/1/2 cup + 2 tbsp unsweetened soya or other dairy free milk
- 2 tbsp olive oil (or more milk)
- 210g/1.5 cups sprouted spelt flour (or regular spelt, wholewheat or plain)
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp dried sage
- Heat a teaspoon of olive oil or a couple of tablespoons of water in a large saute pan or wok and add the onions, leek and carrot with a large pinch of salt. Cook over a medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until softened slightly, about 5 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms and increase the heat, cook until the mushrooms release their liquid and then reabsorb and start to colour. A high heat is crucial to this process to maximise mushroom flavour. At this point add the wine and let reduce for a few minutes.
- Add the prepared stock and herbs and pepper and bring to a simmer. Meanwhile make a slurry with the flour and milk, mixing with a fork until smooth then stir into the stew. It will thicken slightly. Stir in the beans and turn the heat to low. Preheat the oven to 200’c/400’f.
- Make the scone topping; In a large bowl, whisk together the potato, milk and oil (if using) until well combined. Tip over the flour, baking powder, salt and sage and mix with a fork to a soft dough.
- Give the stew a final stir and then use an ice cream scoop or spoon to drop dollops of the dough on top of the stew, just as you would for dumplings, leaving an even space between dollops but they can touch slightly.
- Bake in the hot oven for 15-20 minutes until risen and golden, serve with extra green veggies, green beans are particularly good.
- Low in saturated fat
- No cholesterol
- High in dietary fiber
- High in vitamin A
- Very high in vitamin B6
- High in vitamin C