Saturday, 11 December 2010

Chestnut & Mushroom Pudding - Vegetarian Christmas

Chestnut, mushroom & nut pudding with shallot & madeira sauce

For most folk rolling up their sleeves to take on the often challenging festive catering, the vegetarian at the table can cause the most consternation. Many people are thrown and end up just buying a veggie ready meal. This delicious combination uses all the seasonal standards; chestnuts, mushrooms, walnuts and robust herbs. The suet crust is a wintry and comforting wrapper which soaks up the madeira and shallot sauce.

The quantities given in this recipe will make about 2 portions, enough for 2 small individual bowls. Of course you can double up for a large version. You will have some filling left over which would not be out of place on your own turkey plate.

Chestnut & mushroom filling
  • 1 small onion & bayleaf
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 small stick of celery
  • 50gms dried chestnuts (soaked over night and boiled for an hour) or 100gms chestnuts either from vacpac or an overpriced jar.
  • 100gms chestnut mushrooms chopped quite small but not too fine
  • 50gms mixed nuts roughly chopped (keep the shape of some)
  • 1 tablespoon of breadcrumbs
  • generous knob of butter
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour
  • 100ml of vegetable stock (use some of the cooking liquid of the chestnuts if using)
  • A generous glug of madeira wine (or use red wine)
  • A good handful of mixed sage, parsley, thyme
  • Seasoning
  1. Firstly fry the chopped onion in the butter with a bayleaf, until soft (5 minutes)
  2. Add the chopped garlic, and finely chopped celery and the roughly chopped mushrooms, fry until soft.
  3. Add the flour and stir until absorbed and cook on a low heat stirring all the time to 'cook' the flour. Then take off the heat as you add the madeira or wine, stir so that the liquid absorbs evenly, then add the stock,
  4. Put back on the heat and cook for about a minute, then add the chopped chestnuts, nuts and stir in the breadcrumbs and herbs. Season to taste and set the mixture aside.
You can reserve the mixture for several days or freeze until you want to use it.

Suet Crust
(enough for 2 small pudding basins)

  • 150gms self raising flour
  • 75gms vegetarian suet 
  • half teaspoon dried mustard powder
  • half a handful of mixed herbs
  • Salt
  • Some butter for greasing
  • A little foil and some greaseproof paper and string
  1. Put a pan large enough to contain the pudding bowl, or bowls on to boil.
  2. Mix the flour, salt, suet, herbs and mustard powder with enough water to bring it together into a soft and pliable dough. Go slowly with the water!
  3. Separate one quarter of the dough which will be for the lid.
  4. Lightly butter the pudding bowl.
  5. Roll out the pastry into a circle which will line the pudding bowl.
  6. Pile in the mixture and then roll out the remaining quarter into a round to cover the bowl. Trim off the excess and dampen the suet disk edges so that it sticks to the top of the pudding bowl.

  7. Grease a piece of foil and place on top of the pudding. Then cover with greaseproof paper tying a piece of string to securely fix the paper down. Trim the paper.

  8. Lower this into the boiling water (which should be about 3/4 up the side of the pudding bowl.
  9. Allow to simmer for about 2 hours.
  10. Allow to rest for about 10 minutes and then turn out the glorious pudding, preferably on a bed of red cabbage and serve the sauce around the outside.

Madeira Sauce

1 small shallot finely chopped
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 sprig of thyme
half a wine glass of Madeira wine
100ml veg stock
25gms butter.
  1. Fry the chopped shallot in the a knob of the butter with the thyme for about a minute.
  2. Add the balsamic vinegar and allow to boil away.
  3. Add the Madeira and allow to simmer away to almost nothing.
  4. Add the vegetable stock and allow to simmer away by half.
  5. Off the heat whisk in the butter which will give a silky shine and lovely buttery flavour.
  6. Season to taste.
You can make in advance and reheat gently.


  1. What a pretty idea for the veggies. They sound delicious. I could eat one just now.

  2. We eat a lot of vegetarian meals & this one is a real festive winner!

    My husband & I love the challenges in vegetarian cooking & baking!

    I will surely make this stunning looking puddings!

  3.'s always so interesting for me when I'm led to discover something I've never made or seen ever before.
    This is truly the main reason I started my culinary journey...and I'm glad to have you enroute with me ;o)

    Happy Holiday moments to come,

  4. Brenda, Sophie and Claudia, thanks for such cheery comments. Sophie please let me know how yours turns out if you make this. It is actually very easy. Claudia, a pleasure to introduce you especially after having met so many new friends through your blog..... Sarah x

  5. Thanks very much indeed! I've just made the filling for this & it tastes gorgeous, I've used port instead of the wine & a dollop of cranberry sauce, can't wait to eat it tomorrow!


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