Shiitake and Cannellini Bean Casserole

Shiitake mushrooms are rich in lentinan, a powerful stimulant to the immune system.  This is an unusual but delicious and comforting slow-cooked one-pot dish that’s low in fat.

Shiitake and Cannellini Bean Casserole

Ingredients

2 onions

2 large carrots

2 bay leaves

2 star anise

a teaspoon of mixed dried herbs

4 cloves of garlic

a one inch (2 and a 1/2cm) piece of ginger

700g (25 ounces) of floury potatoes (such as Maris Piper)

7g (a quarter of an ounce) of dried porcini mushrooms

a 400g (14 ounce) can of cannellini beans

150g (5 and a 1/2 ounces) of shiitake mushrooms

a tablespoon of dark soy sauce

100g (3 and a 1/2 ounces) of trimmed green beans

a tablespoon of flax seeds (linseeds) optional see tips

Method

Simply add the ingredients in the order below and you wont go far wrong.  Once they are all added simmer for 30 minutes or so until the carrots and potatoes are soft and all the wonderful flavours have infused.  The flavours also benefit from letting the casserole stand for 15 minutes or so before serving and is also delicious reheated

Add just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of a large lidded saucepan and heat on a low heat.  Chop the onion, sprinkle with salt, stir and cover

Scrub and dice the carrots and add these

Add 2 bay leaves, 2 star anise and the teaspoon of mixed dried herbs and plenty of black pepper

Chop the garlic and ginger together and add these

Scrub and cube the potatoes into large chunks, add these, stir and replace the lid

Pour 300ml of hot water over the dried porcini and add a tablespoon of dark stock buillon or a stock cube, leave for 10 minutes to infuse before straining into the pot (this is so you can cut up and add the porcini pieces to afterwards)

Add the stock and porcini pieces and the drained cannellini beans and a tablespoon of dark soy sauce

Add the trimmed green beans, the whole shiitake mushrooms and the handful of frozen beans

Add a tablespoon of ground flax (linseeds)

Simmer keeping on the lowest heat for a further 30 minutes or so until the potatoes and carrots are soft

Serve as it is or with crusty bread, dumplings or rice and extra soy sauce if required

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