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    Mushroom Barley Stew with Chestnuts

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    Mushroom Barley Stew with Chestnuts

    This tasty dish can be made in advance and frozen and is a suitable vegetarian alternative for Christmas lunch.

    • Vegetarian
    • Preparation time: 30 minutes, plus soaking time
    • Cooking time: 45 minutes
    • Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes 60 minutes 15 minutes

    Serves: 8


    • 40g pack Waitrose Select Dried Mixed Mushrooms or 40g of mixed dried mushrooms
    • 5 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 medium onion, finely sliced
    • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into chunky half moons
    • 3 sticks celery, sliced
    • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    • 600g mixed fresh mushrooms, trimmed
    • 4 ripe tomatoes, peeled and diced
    • 2 tsp plain flour
    • 300ml Madeira or vegetable stock
    • 75g pearl barley
    • 2 leeks, sliced
    • 500g pack Waitrose Frozen Peeled Chestnuts or 500g fresh chestnuts, peeled weight


    1. Soak the dried mushrooms in 600ml lukewarm water for 20 minutes.
    2. Pour the olive oil into a large saucepan. Set over a low heat and gently fry the onions, carrots, celery and garlic until soft. Mix in the fresh mushrooms, cutting any large ones in half, and as soon as they begin to soften add the tomatoes. Fry for a further 1 minute then stir in the flour and cook for 3 minutes.
    3. Meanwhile, strain the dried mushrooms through a fine sieve, saving their water. Measure 600ml mushroom water, making sure that any fine sand from the mushrooms is left behind. Add the Madeira or vegetable stock, mushroom water, barley and soaked mushrooms to the stew. Season to taste.
    4. Bring to the boil, cover, then simmer for 30 minutes. Add the leeks and frozen or fresh chestnuts, bring to the boil then simmer for 5-8 minutes. Allow to cool - this casserole is better if reheated as it allows the flavours to blend. Freeze at this stage if cooking in advance.
    5. Reheat the stew when you are ready to serve. You may need to add a little water. Serve immediately with Savoy cabbage.

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