A little brown stew of mushrooms and spelt | Nigel Slater's recipe cards

Use fancy mushrooms if you wish, but I rather like this made with an everyday mixture of wide, flat 'field' mushrooms and the small chestnut variety. Add the mushrooms according to their size and thickness, leaving anything particularly small and delicate till last.

Serves 4

dried mushrooms 1 tbsp
pearled spelt 250g
a medium onion
olive oil 4 tbsp
garlic 2 cloves, crushed
assorted fresh mushrooms 850g
tomato purée 1 tbsp
plain flour 1 tbsp
dried chilli flakes ½ teaspoon tsp

Put the dried mushrooms into a heatproof bowl, cover with 500ml hot water from the kettle and set aside.

Boil the spelt in lightly salted water for 15 minutes, then drain and set aside.

Peel and roughly chop the onion. Warm the olive oil in a large pan. Add the onion and leave to soften, with the occasional stir to stop it burning, over a moderate heat. When it is pale gold – after 10-15 minutes – add the garlic and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes.

Finely slice the fresh mushrooms. Stir them into the onion and cook for about five minutes, till they are starting to colour. Stir in the tomato purée. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then stir in the flour.

Pour in the dried mushrooms and their soaking water and bring to the boil. As soon as the liquid is boiling, lower the heat, season with salt and black pepper and stir in the dried chilli flakes. Leave to simmer for 10 minutes, then add the cooked spelt. Cook for a further 10-15 minutes, until the mushrooms are soft and silky and the sauce is rich and lightly thickened.

Serve in shallow bowls.

Nigel's new book, Kitchen Diaries II, is published by Fourth Estate at £30. To order a copy for £19.99 (including free UK mainland p&p), go to guardian.co.uk/bookshop or call 0330 333 6846.

Thanks to guardian.co.uk who have provided this article. View the original here.


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