Whole and hearty mushroom loaf


By IAN LAU

ROAST turkey for Christmas is a well-known tradition.

The stuffing that goes into the bird is varied and has evolved into a dish of its own. It can even be served alongside the turkey.

I first tried one such stuffing — mushroom loaf — in Cardiff, Wales.

It contained diced and browned bacon and some Marmite that gave it more flavour.

I like adding different varieties of mushrooms to this loaf. Shiitake and bunapi are good choices.

I also prefer to use crusty bread but if it is unavailable, I use sandwich slices.

Dice and toast the bread first to prevent sogginess from the filling.

Beer or wine enhances the flavour but if you want to keep it alcohol-free, replace it with chicken or vegetable stock instead.

Layer the top of the loaf with cubes of butter for a crispy crust.

When cooked, remove from the oven and let it cool for about 15 minutes.

Mushroom loaf has a wonderful blend of flavours and can be eaten on its own or served with roast meats for Christmas.

Mushroom loaf

Ingredients

60g chopped walnuts

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 diced yellow onion

2 ribs of diced celery

½ minced garlic bulb

5g fresh thyme

180g diced shiitake mushrooms

150g diced bunapi mushrooms

300g diced white bread

75g cubed butter

1 can beer or 1 cup broth

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Toast diced bread in oven at 150°C for 15 minutes until crispy but not dry.

Fry walnuts in olive oil until light golden and crispy. Remove and drain oil.

In the remaining oil in the pan, sauté diced onions and celery until they start to sweat.

Next add garlic and thyme and sauté until fragrant. Add mushrooms and sauté until they wilt and turn brown.

Add in toasted bread and toss together to seal in the flavours.

Pour in the liquid and combine well.

The stuffing should be moist but not soggy. If wet, toss in pan for a while before stirring in the fried walnuts.

Transfer the mixture into a baking dish and top it with cubed butter.

Bake at 200°C for 20 minutes until golden and crispy.

Remove from oven and allow to rest for at least 15 minutes for the fat to be redistributed before serving.

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