Spicy Mushroom Stew With Home Made Gnocchi

In most Eastern-European countries, stew is everything. Hungary, where I’m from, is no different, we have all sorts of stews including goulash, which Hungarians eat as a soup. I know, we’re weird. The cuisine is of course heavy in meat dishes. Luckily, a lot of meat based dishes can be turned into a lovely vegetarian meal quite easily. My mum used to make a great mushroom stew, but it can be a little bit bland for some tastes. So I spiced it up a little bit and decided to serve it with home made gnocchi (dead easy, don’t get scared!) instead of the traditional Hungarian pasta pearls. (That is something I don’t have the time and the patience to make.)
Although the word “stew” somehow indicates that it’s heavy and fulfilling, this dish is lovely both in summer and in winter, not heavy at all. Well, as long as you can resist eating too much gnocchi, which I find very hard! I’m all for pasta and bread. Requires about an hour of your time to prepare this yummy dish.

Yield: 4

Ingredients:

For the spicy mushroom stew

250g chestnut mushrooms, thickly sliced

250g portobellini mushrooms, thickly sliced

1 onion, chopped finely

100ml wine (of any kind)

1 red bell pepper, chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

200g creme fraiche

3 heaped tbsp of full fat greek yogurt

3 tbsp of olive oil

2 handfuls of fresh, chopped parsley

2 tsp of lazy chilli or chilly flakes

2 tbsp of ground, sweet paprika

1 tbsp of flour

For the gnocchi:

2 large potatoes (you’ll need 250g cooked, mashed potatoes), diced

250g plain flour

1 egg

Method:

No need to add water as the mushroom will produce some liquid when cooking.

Caramelise the onion on the oil for 15 minutes using low heat. Let them turn golden brown. Use a large pan. This will allow you to make a creamier, tastier sauce. Add the paprika, the chilli and the wine. Cook it for 5 minutes. Add the vegetables, simmer for 5 minutes, then comes the parsley in. Cover it and cook it for 15 minutes. In a small bowl, mix the creme fraiche, the yogurt and the flour, then add the mixture to the mushroom stew, bring it to boil. Reduce heat and cook it for a further 10 minutes.

To prepare the gnocchi, cook 2 large potatoes until they are cooked, but still a bit firm, approximately 10 minutes when diced. Mash them with a fork, let it cool and measure 250g of mashed potatoes. Add the flour and the egg and combine well using your hands, forming a bread like dough.

(For the future: all you have to remember is the measurements: 250-250-1. Easy.)

Divide your dough into 3-4 portions and form snakes of approximately 1.5cm diameter of each dough ball. Keep dusting with some extra flour to avoid stickiness. Cut them into 2-2.5cm diameter pieces.

Bring the water boil in a large pan, add your gnocchi and cook them for 3 minutes or until they start to rise to the top. Drain them and all done.

Serve it immediately.

Mummy in a Tutu

Creamy risotto with butternut squash and chestnut mushrooms

Not sure what are your little one’s feelings towards risotto, but Bobcat is not a big fan of it. If he likes it, eats it when it’s freshly prepared (such a gourmet this child), but when it’s reheated, he refuses it. I cannot really blame him, combinations such as asparagus and cherry tomato are very boring for small toddlers. This winter risotto recipe, however, was a great success. He loves butternut squash for a start, could eat it every day. Even though, I prepared it more as a grown-up meal because I wasn’t sure if he’s going to like it. Hence the wine and the seasoning, but don’t worry about the alcohol, as it cooks off. It’s probably a law in Italy anyway, no risotto without wine. Ready in about an hour. Great meal for the whole family. Serves about 4 adults and a toddler, or two, 🙂

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Ingredients:

1/2 butternut squash chopped (about 1 large muesli bowl)

250g chestnut mushrooms sliced

300g risotto rice

1 medium onion finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic minced

2 tbsp butter

1 tbsp olive oil

100ml white wine (I used Gewuerztraminer because that’s what I had at home, but it doesn’t really matter)

500ml vegetable stock

Handful of sage leaves finely chopped

30g Parmesan grated

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Melt the butter and the olive oil in a big casserole pan. Add all the vegetables and the spices and let them soften for about 10 minutes. Stir it frequently. (Until the onion goes glassy.) Lower the heat to the minimum. Add the rice, keep stirring for a minute more and then add the wine. Let the wine cook off, then add the stock but only a ladleful at a time, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. Keep stirring all the time. When the stock is gone, your rice will be still a bit hard, so add some more hot water until it’s you reach the softness you wanted. Generally, around 25 minutes cooking and stirring we’ve got to do. (Don’t add more stock, it will be otherwise overwhelmingly taste as stock. There’s still a bit of salt and cheese to come.) When you’re happy with the texture, add the cheese and the other spoonful of butter. Stirring butter into the ready risotto by the end of cooking will add the creaminess we’re looking for. Serve it immediately with grated Parmesan on the top. And with a glass of vino for yourself, if you’re allowed.