Posts tagged ‘chestnut’

February 8, 2012

Last night’s dinner: Mushroom, chestnut and cavolo nero casserole

Casserole? Well, you could call it a stew. I was intending to cook this (mostly) in the oven, as you should with a casserole, but I didn’t. I was hungry. I cooked it on the hob. It was quicker. It was still good. There.

First, in a deep, wide saucepan or frying pan I fried a sliced onion in a little olive oil until it softened. I then added three sticks of celery, cut into 1-inch pieces. Then I added lots of mushrooms – a supermarket tub each of button, chestnut and oyster varieties, the larger ones being halved or even quartered. Don’t try and get them all the same size however; it’s nice to have them varied. Cook the mushrooms on a medium heat for 15 minutes while they release heir juices and then soak them back up again.

As the mushrooms are cooking, boil a cupful of green lentils (not Puy) until tender in a small pan of vegetable stock, with a bay leaf. When they have finished cooking, drain, removing the bay leaf, but retaining a little of the stock.

Now, take 150g or so of vacuum-packed or tinned, cooked chestnuts and chop them coarsely. Add to the mushroom mixture. Then add the lentils. Then pour in 100ml of sour cream and stir well. If the mixture could do with a little more liquid, top up with any reserved stock.

From here you can continue to cook on the hob for another 15 minutes. While you’re doing so, blanche a few handfuls of cavolo nero or savoy cabbage in boiling water for 4 minutes. Drain immediately and rinse under cold water.

When the mushrooms finish cooking, add the cavolo nero and another 100ml of sour cream. Simmer for another 3-4 minutes. Before serving, add a handful of chopped chives and a handful of roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley.

Serve with crusty bread and, if you like, an extra dollop of cream.

July 13, 2011

Last Night’s Dinner: Vegetarian sausage and egg with chilli sauce

Sunday 26 June

Okay, so this isn’t quite a ‘last night’s dinner’, it’s a breakfast based on a recipe in Denis Cotter’s For the Love of Food. Once you get the basic idea, it’s easily adaptable to your own taste.

We’ve often wondered about how to make a decent veggie sausage – one that doesn’t try too hard to be meaty, one that doesn’t taste of artificial flavourings and enhancers, one that celebrates its own fresh ingredients and yet one that is defiantly sausagey. Well, this is as near as we’ve got.

The principle is straight forward. It’s a mix of cooked chestnuts (a vacuum-packed bag from the supermarket is good for this), mashed tofu, breadcrumbs and herbs, all blitzed in a food processor with an egg to bind the mixture. You then take small palm-full of the mix, mould into a sausage shape and lightly fry.

For Cotter’s exact ingredients see the book, but we’d happily encourage you to have a go yourselves. It’s just like making a fritter or savoury ‘cake’, but sausage-shaped and with ingredients you might not expect. Think about it, however, and it all makes sense.

One tip: do be careful with them in the frying pan, unlike a Quorn sausage, or a real sausage, they do break apart fairly easily. Cotter suggests making a large batch and freezing them, uncooked. Apparently they cook better from frozen. We tried it. They did.

We served them for breakfast with a fried egg and a hastily made chilli sauce (take a couple of tomatoes, some chillis, a little oil, seasoning, whizz in the food processor and cook through for five minutes).