Nutty Mushroom Crumble:
Prep: 10 mins.
Cooking: 15 + 30 = 45 mins.
Rating: 3: Moderate
As a veggie main, serves 4-5, or as a starter 8+
For the mushroom mixture:
- 750g ‘Nutty’ Mushrooms – best to get at least two different types, one of them preferably a wild mushroom or at least a chestnut/forestiere muggy – but if common white muggies is all you’s got, well, that’s fine – just use what’s to hand.
- 60g butter or margarine
- A little oil (not ‘engine’, ‘baby’ or ‘body’) just to help the butter to not burn in the pan
- 1 large onion – I like big red onions, but use what’s to hand.
- …. I like garlic, so I use 3 or 4 cloves. Use as many as you think.
- 500 ml vegetable stock – or 500 ml (half a litre) of boiling water and three green OXO cubes.
You can use part white wine, especially if you have a bottle that has been opened a fair while. Recycle it into here….. Oh yes, if you have any old vermouth hanging around (Cinzano, Martini, Noilly Prat) use a glass of that instead of the equivalent of water in the stock. I’m all in favour of a bit o’recycling. Someone who used to take my blood (no, not like that – I am a blood donor!) really goes for the Vermouth taste – so I think I’ll recommend “Tania’s Twist” and say that a white Vermouth should be used in preference to plain, borin’ ol’ white wine! Ta for the recipe modification, Tania!
- 60g plain flour
- Small carton double cream
- Seasonings & fresh herbs if you have them. I like to use lots of fresh chopped parsley in this dish. It looks nice too.
- A little coarse sea salt, if you have it. If not…..
For the crumble mixture:
- 100g oatmeal – don’t go out especially to buy oatmeal, you are supposed to be saving money (for use at the pub later) you can use porridge oats and chop them through thoroughly with a knife on a chopping board – anyway, this recipe is supposed to be rustic.
- 100g wholemeal flour
- 30 – 50g chopped walnuts
- 30 – 50g chopped pistachio nuts (shelled, of course – it’d be a bit too crunchy otherwise!)
- A good hefty pinch or two of dried thyme
- Another good hefty pinch (but not quite so hefty) of fennel seeds
- 100g softened butter or marg.
- Frying pan
- Bowl (or use a supermarket bag without any holes, placed in a dry sink)
- Colander (that’s that thing like a bowl wiv ‘oles in, wot yer used to play soldiers ‘ats wiv when y’were a young ankle-biter…..Oh dear, forgive me – I just had a bit of a turn!) or just use the lid of the saucepan slightly dislodged to allow the water to drain away.
- Ceramic oven dish. Ensure that it is big enough, or have two ready to double up. There is a lot of ‘stuff’ here to go into that thar oven.
- Put the stock in a big saucepan and bring it to the boil.
- Using a good, sharp, broad bladed knife (see Hints’n’Tips) slice the mushrooms. Don’t use grotty muggies for this, and don’t peel them first. Remember NOT to wash them either (they go soggy!). If they are mucky, wipe ’em off with kitchen roll.
- Put the sliced mushrooms into the boiling stock and bring back up to fast boil. Turn down to the lowest heat on the smallest ring on the cooker, put on the lid and forget for 15 minutes.
- Whilst the mushrooms are becoming gorgeous and tender, roughly chop the onion and fry it in a frying pan, using the oil and butter, for 3-4 minutes. Don’t use a high heat – you don’t want the onions to colour, just to soften.
- Stirring the onions with a wooden spoon, tip in the flour bit by bit and mix so that the oil & butter becomes absorbed by the flour. Cook for a minute or so, low heat, stirring it all the time. It must not become coloured. You’re making a ‘roux’ – as in kanga.
Kanga-roux! Oh, never mind.
- The mushrooms should have had their 15 minutes of fame by now. Take them off the heat and either lift out the mushrooms from the stock or pour the stock from the mushrooms – it’ll taste the same whichever way you do it – but retain the stock (what do you mean – “it’s down the sink”? Dingbat! Go and fetch it……….)
- Pour the stock into the roux, little by little, making sure that each slosh of stock is absorbed into the flour & onion roux by vigorous stirring with a wooden spoon before adding more. The roux will soften and become creamier.
- When all the stock is in you can either continue in the frying pan or transfer the whole lot to the saucepan. Your choice. I’d transfer it, myself as it’s easier to control a sauce in a saucepan (now I wonder why….?). Ok, now you are really steaming ahead.
- Cook the mixture gently until it has thickened (10 mins?), then add the mushrooms, seasoning, cream and half of the chopped fresh parsley. Cor, ’tis lookin’ good.
- Put the lid on and sit it on the cooker, away from heat. It is ready for the oven dish. The crumble mixture is next.
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, oats, nuts, seasoning (of which it will be in very great need) and the dried thyme. Not the fennel seeds. Not yet. Hang on. Don’t rush.
- If you don’t have a big bowl, use a supermarket carrier bag WITHOUT HOLES!
- Chuck in the butter/marg and mix it up with yer mitts (your hands). The idea is for any crumble mix – sweet or savoury – to resemble breadcrumbs. But these breadcrumbs would be very lumpy, funny coloured ones because of the rustic oats etc.
- Pour the mushroom mixture into the oven dish. Spread it about. The level should be about 10mm down from the rim, any nearer to the rim than 10mm and it may squidge over the sides of the dish and mucky-up-yer-oven. Mistake! You’d have to clean it. Not good.
- Ok, sprinkle the rest of the parsley on top of the mixture – go on, it’ll take lots. At this point, I like to sprinkle a little coarse sea-salt over the mushroom mixture to give little spikes of intense flavour.
- Gently sprinkle the crumble mix on top. Don’t press down. Level it out using a fork – very lightly. If you have any butter left over, a few scrapes or slivers of butter dotted over the top of the crumble mixture adds to visual appeal.
- Sprinkle the fennel seeds on top and just leave ‘em there.
- Preheat the oven to about gas mk 5 (190C/375F) and put the oven dish in for around 30 minutes. Check after 20.
- Bung a sprig of nice green fresh herbs in the middle and pop it onto the table. Then gloat. You deserve to. Well done!
NOTE: If you have someone who is wheat intolerant, don’t use wheat flour at all, use gram flour, rice flour or something similar that is gluten-free.