Recipe: Festive Mushroom Roast

This is a big savoury roast dish, rich with mushrooms and cheese, the centrepiece of a big festive vegetarian dinner.

Ingredients

1 weight of mushrooms
1 weight of breadcrumb
1/2 weight of onions
1/2 weight of hard cheese, grated.
1 vegetable stock cube
1 egg (optional)
1 tbsp mixed herbs
1/2 bulb garlic (optional)
Butter or oil for frying.

Preparation Time: 1 hour – shortened with a foodprocessor for chopping: plus breadcrumb time.

Cooking Time: 60-90 minutes, depending on weight of mushrooms, breadcrumb, onions, and cheese.

Cooking Instructions, assuming 1 kilo of breadcrumb, 1 kilo of mushrooms, 500-700g onions, 500-700g of hard cheese.

If you don’t have a pan to cook the mushrooms and onions in that’s also big enough for the crumb, you’ll need a big mixing bowl for the crumb at step 7.

1. Make breadcrumb. This has not been included in the preparation time. You need a kilo of bread reduced to small crumbs. This can be done as much as 24 hours before you make the rest of the dish, if you need to take the time to do it by hand (store in a clean, dry, airtight container): or whizz slices of bread to dry crumbs in a foodprocessor in a few minutes. You can use gluten-free breadcrumb.

The oven should be pre-heated to 200 degrees.

2. Chop the onions and cook them slowly in butter to a savoury, soft pulp (with herbs and garlic). Stir frequently. Herbs: you can use a savoury herb mix, or your own preference with mushrooms and cheese.

3. While the onions are slowly cooking, chop the mushrooms.

4. Add the chopped mushrooms to the onions and keep under a low heat until mushrooms and onions are cooked together into a soft, moist, savoury-smelling pulp. Keep stirring, but carry out steps 5 and 6.

5. Make up about 200ml of vegetable stock.

6. Grate the cheese. A mix of two mature hard cheeses is best – suggested half a kilo of cheddar, 200g of parmesan.

7. Stir the breadcrumb into the onion/mushroom mixture. As you mix the crumb into the mushroom/onion pulp, keep adding vegetable stock – you want a fairly moist mixture.

8. When all the crumb is well mixed into the onion/mushroom, stir in grated cheese.

9. You can beat an egg and add it to the mix, to make the roast more cohesive. Optional.

10. Put the whole mixture in a deep, greased casserole dish and bake until it’s crusty on top.

This is a rich, glorious dish full of the flavour of cheeses and mushrooms. Labour-intensive, takes long cooking, but well worth it as the centre-piece of your festive meal.

This size of roast will take at least 60 minutes to bake. Instead of regular vegetable stock, you can use Marmite, a couple of teaspoonfuls in about 150ml of boiling water.

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