Mushroom and Fennel Ragout with Cheese Herb Scones
Winter is well and truly here in New Zealand, we have experienced our first frost in the valley and icy winds blasting from the snow capped south. But no need to grumble, it’s the perfect photo opportunity on these winter mornings, there’s nothing more beautiful than a blanket of frost on the ground as a sunny morning dawns. The snow brings winter sport, trips to the mountains, the thrill of snowboarding and of course the desire to cook hearty winter meals.
As an alternative to the classic meat stews, try a mushroom ragout, it’s quicker to make but still offers that satisfying, warming fullness we associate with a regular stew. High in protein, mushrooms are a good vegetarian alternative and since they are coming into season here in NZ also offer great value for money.
Ingredients for Scones
200g self raising flour
pinch of salt
Pinch of cracked black pepper
100g grated cheddar cheese
150ml of milk
1 tblsp Dijon mustard
Handful of thyme
Ingredients for Ragout
800g white or brown button mushrooms, washed and halved
1 large fennel bulb
1 tsp fennel seeds
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tsp Dijon mustard
150ml sour cream
Method for Scones
Preheat oven to 180 degrees centigrade.
Remove the fennel fronds from the bulb and chop finely.
whisk the mustard into the milk.
Place flour, butter, pepper and salt into a bowl.
Rub butter and flour together until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. Or use a food processor.
Add half the grated cheese and fennel fronds and mix through.
Form a well in the centre of bread crumb mix and add the milk, kneed gently to form a soft dough.
Transfer dough onto a floured board and press the dough out with hands (rather than using a rolling pin) until it is about 2cm thick.
Use a round cookie cutter to cut out the scones or slice the scones, it should make 8
Put scones aside till ragout is done.
Method for Ragout
Quarter the fennel bulb, remove core and thinly slice.
Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to a large oven proof frying over a medium to high heat.
Add the halved mushrooms and fry till they go brown and caramelized on the edges. You may need to do this in two batches if your pan isn’t big enough.
Lower the heat to medium and add the garlic, sliced fennel and fennel seeds and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring several times.
Add the sour cream, water and mustard, stir and simmer for 5 minutes.
Plop the scones on top of the ragout, sprinkle with the rest of the cheese and bake for 20 minutes.
If your frying pan can’t be put into the over transfer ragout to a casserole dish before putting the scones on top.
Serve with some steam green beans.