• 30g dried porcini mushrooms
• 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
• 1 celery stick, finely chopped
• 1 carrot, finely diced
• 4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
• 380g chestnut mushrooms, roughly chopped
• 150ml red wine or extra hot stock
• About 300ml hot vegetable stock
• 160g brown lentils, rinsed
• 400g passata
• 1 tsp dried thyme
• 2 bay leaves
• 1 tsp yeast extract or brown barley miso
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• Cooked tagliatelle or pappardelle pasta
• Grated vegetarian Parmesan (optional)
• Freshly chopped basil
Cooking time: low 6-7 hours, high 4½-5½ hours
Mushroom & Brown Lentil Ragu
Join in with Veganuary by trying this tasty slow cooker recipe that’s healthy, nutritious and energy saving too.
Put the dried porcini in a heatproof bowl and pour over enough just-boiled water to cover. Leave to rehydrate for 30 minutes. Strain the mushrooms over a bowl with a slotted spoon and squeeze out any excess liquid. Finely chop the porcini and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and fry the onion, celery and carrot for 5 minutes, until starting to soften. Add the garlic, rehydrated porcini and chestnut mushrooms and cook, stirring often, for another 5 minutes, until softened.
Pour the red wine into the pan, if using, and allow to boil until reduced and there is no aroma of alcohol – alternatively leave this step out and increase the quantity of hot stock.
Pour enough hot stock into the jug containing the porcini soaking liquor to make 500ml. Add to the slow cooker pot with the lentils, passata and thyme and stir until combined. Add the mushroom mixture and bay leaves. Cover and cook for 6-7 hours on low or 4½-5½ hours on high.
Just before the ragu is ready, stir in the yeast extract or miso and season with salt and pepper to taste, then leave to rest for 5 minutes.
Serve spooned over pasta, adding a ladleful of the pasta cooking water to the ragu, topped with grated vegetarian Parmesan and chopped basil, if you like.
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This flavoursome vegetarian tart is one of those quick and easy recipes that can be thrown together in next to no time, with no special skills or equipment needed!