mushroom stew with spicy chive scones

People, life is hard and full of disappointment.

It’s hard to get up in the morning when you know you won’t see daylight except out a window for nigh on nine hours.

It’s hard to live surrounded by boxes, but sometimes it’s harder to unpack those boxes to find out what lives inside.

It’s hard when your life is full of potential but you don’t know where you want to steer your ship.

It’s hard when you want the end product but you can’t find the motivation to make it happen yourself.

It’s hard to find the time in your day to do the things you love, especially when you get distracted by Veronica Mars. Insert your tv on dvd of choice here.

No, I didn’t choose Veronica Mars. Veronica chose me.

I have lists upon lists in my life. Lists of creative projects I can’t seem to get up off the ground. Lists of plants I would plant if I could get up my gardening motivation. Lists of places I would go if I had the money, jobs I would love to do if only I had the qualifications, rooms I want in my dream house.

Lists don’t get ticked off without hard work, it would seem. And hard work, funnily enough, is hard.

Which brings me back to the beginning. Life is hard. And full of disappointment.

However, disappointment shouldn’t stop us from doing what we love, from getting up and giving it a go, from making things happen, whatever they are, just because we have to do something, ANYTHING or else we’ll go mad. Disappointment is inevitable. Getting up again afterwards takes heart.

Mushroom stew is a good place to start.

Mushroom stew with spicy chive scones

Adapted from Joy the Baker

For the scones:

480g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2 tsp sugar

15 g (1/4 cup//1/4 bunch) chopped chives

1/4-1 tsp chilli flakes

1/2-1 tsp pepper

170g butter, cold and cut into chunks

3/4 cup buttermilk

1 large egg

Sift the flour, baking powder, and baking soda together. Stir in the salt, sugar, chives, chilli flakes and pepper. Rub in the butter. (You can also use a food proessor to cut in the butter. Just pulse the mixture a few times). You want it to look like small peas, or breadcrumbs.

Make a well in the centre and add the buttermilk and egg. Using a fork, first whisk the wet ingredients together and then slowly incorporate the dry. It won’t all come together, but that’s ok.

Dump out the shaggy scone stuff onto a lightly floured countertop. Gently knead it all together just until it holds its shape in a disc. Flatten it out to about three or four centimetres thick and use a medium sized round cookie cutter (or scone cutter) to cut out the scones. I got about twelve, but it depends on how big you want them.

Place the scones in the fridge until you’re ready with the stew. (Alternatively, you can bake these at 190°Celsius for 20-25 minutes on their own.)

For the stew:

500g button mushrooms, cut into chunks (brown or white – I used a combination)

butter

olive oil

salt

pepper

1 large red onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 large carrots, sliced

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced

1 cup frozen peas (or corn, or a combination)

1 1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/3 cup plain flour

2 1/2 cups (750ml) vegetable or mushroom stock

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

splash balsamic vinegar

Place a rack in the centre of your oven and preheat to 190°Celsius or 375°Fahrenheit.

You can use a saucepan and transfer the mixture to a baking dish later, or as I did, you can start and end with a crockpot.

Place about a tablespoon of butter and two of olive oil in your preferred frying implement over medium heat, to melt. Add the mushrooms and let sit for about five minutes, undisturbed. Make sure the mushrooms are in a single layer – you don’t want to crowd the mushrooms!

Add salt and pepper to taste and toss intermittently, until they are soft and brown. You’ll have to taste a few to make sure.

Remove the mushrooms from the pot and add a little more olive oil. Sauté the onions until soft. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Toss in the carrots and sweet potatoes and cook, stirring often, about five to ten minutes, until the potatoes are softened. Add thyme and the mushrooms, and stir together.

Turn heat to low and stir in the flour. Try to make sure it coats everything evenly and doesn’t clump anywhere. Add the stock slowly, while stirring. Continue to stir until the mixture has thickened.

Add peas and stir. Add salt, pepper, worcestershire sauce and balsamic vinegar (to taste) and stir.

Nestle the scones next to each other on top of the stew and bake, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes. The scones should be brown on top and the stew bubbling around the edges.

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