I served it on top of a garlicky celeriac mash, which I personally love, but mashed potatoes or root vegetable mash will work just as well. Duncan is a massive fan of this dish and the additional added bonus is that it’s extremely easy to eat even if you have just had braces put on, something Duncan is going through at the moment.


  • 10 g / 0.5 oz dried porcini (or other dried) mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp / 30 ml olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 4 large garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into chunks
  • 2 carrots, cut into chunks
  • 1 vegan stock cube
  • 1 cup / 240 ml vegan red wine
  • 1 rosemary spring
  • 3 fresh thyme springs
  • 2 fresh or dried bay leaves
  • 2 tsp liquid smoke (optional)
  • approx. ½ tsp coarse salt, adjust to taste
  • 750 g / 27 oz mushrooms (I used chestnut and plain)
  • 4 tsp cornstarch / cornflour, to thicken
  • 6 lacinato kale / cavolo nero leaves, chopped (optional)
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar, to taste
  • chopped parsley, to decorate (optional)


  1. Place rinsed porcini mushrooms (they often have grit in them) in a small bowl and cover with (about 300 ml / 1½ cups) of boiling water to create a potent porcini stock. Set aside to let it infuse.
  2. Chop fresh mushrooms into thick slices or quarters. I did half and half.
  3. Heat up olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot. Add diced onion and sauté on a low heat until slightly caramelised. Add chopped garlic and sauté for another 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add chopped mushrooms, carrots and celery sticks and sauté on a low heat until slightly caramelised. If the pan gets too dry, add a couple of tablespoons of porcini stock you prepared earlier.
  5. Add tomato paste, a crumbled stock cube, wine, the rest of porcini stock (about 300 ml / 1½ cups in total), fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary and bay leaves), liquid smoke (if using) and salt. I save rehydrated porcini mushrooms for another use (like this bolognese), but you can also just chop them finely and add to the stew if you wish.
  6. Cover the pot with a lid and allow the stew to cook on low heat for about 30 minutes or so until all the veggies are cooked through and the flavours have had a change to mingle.
  7. In a small bowl, mix 4 tsp of cornstarch with 2 tbsp of water to create a slurry to thicken up the stew.
  8. Add cornstarch slurry to the stew and allow the stew to bubble gently for 5 more minutes for the stew to thicken. If the stew is too thick add a splash more water.
  9. Add chopped kale leaves in the final minutes of cooking, put the lid back on for a few more (2-3) minutes for the kale to cook in the stew’s steam.
  10. Adjust the seasoning to your taste. I added some freshly ground pepper and two teaspoons of balsamic vinegar.