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Vegan Spag Bol In The Oven

Asked by Pwid. Answered on 5th March 2021

Full question

Loving the look of Vegan Spag Bol, but can you pop it in the oven for the hour's cooking and, if so, what temperature do you advise? Thank you.

I don’t have dried porcini mushrooms for the Vegan Spag Bol. However, I do have porcini mushroom powder. Can I use the powder as a substitute? If so, how much to add? I do also have fresh chestnut mushrooms to put in.

Image of Nigella's Vegan Spag Bol
Photo by Nigella
Vegan Spag Bol
By Nigella
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Our answer

Nigella's Vegan Spag Bol is a warming dish of braised vegetables and lentils that should satisfy vegans, vegetarians and meat eaters alike. The vegetables are cooked until soft then the lentils are added with canned tomatoes and simmered until tender. We suspect that you could braise the lentils in the oven, but would emphasise that the intitial cooking of the vegetables, and the onions in particular, needs to be done on the stove as this step helps to add a lot of flavour to the dish. We would suggest bringing everything up to a bubble on the stove then clamping on the lid and transferring the casserole (dutch oven) to an oven preheated to 170°C/150°C Fan/325°F for 1 hour, or until the lentils are tender. However, as we have not tried the recipe with this method, we are unable to guarantee the results.

Dried porcini add some flavour and texture to the sauce and a combination of fresh mushrooms and porcini powder would probably be a good alternative if you don't have the dried porcini. Chop the fresh mushrooms and saute them in a little olive oil in a large frying pan until they are soft, then add them to the pan when you would add the soaked porcini. For the porcini powder we would treat it like a stock powder, and mix it with some of the warm water used at the beginning of the recipe. We would suggest initially using 1 teaspoon of the powder. We would also reduce the amount of water to 180ml/¾ cup as the fresh mushrooms will let out some liquid when they cook with the lentils. We would suggest checking the sauce after 30 minutes of simmering, to see if it needs any more liquid. If it looks too dry then add a splash of water. At this point you could also carefully taste the sauce and add a little more of the porcini powder if you want to boost the mushroom flavour.

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