The secret to this dish is a good quality brown ale which results in a rich, caramelly, nutty sauce. On its own, the sauce would be too bitter, but with hints of warming ginger and smokey chilli, and with sweetness from the shallots and dried figs, it’s a wonderful, well rounded, full flavoured delight. To top it off, traditional British dumplings float on the top like pillows of doughy loveliness.
This is important! I like a Belgium brown ale, but as long as you find one that is rich, rounded, malty, nutty, caramelly, and delicious – I’m not sure you can go wrong! Ale varies in bitterness, so you may want to vary the amount of brown sugar you add (if any at all).
The cooking method
Ok, I know, casseroles are usually chucked in the oven and forgotten about and don’t require much work. BUT, this is totally worth it! Caramelising the celeriac and shallots before they go in the cooking sauce just creates a richer flavour – and this dish is all about that richness. Mushrooms can only take a short period of time in a casserole dish in the oven, otherwise they go chewy, rubbery and lose their flavour (despite hundreds of recipes to the contrary!). Cooking them gently in a frying pan first and then popping them in the casserole sauce for a minimum of half an hour, whilst the dumplings are cooking just ensures a solid texture and maintains that mushroom flavour.
Make it vegan
You can either use a vegan cheese in the dumpling or just leave it out. Also leave out the egg wash or replace it with a vegan wash (2 tbsp Almond milk mixed with 1 tbsp maple syrup). Add a little onion/garlic powder or dried herbs to the dough mixture for extra flavour and hey presto!
Celeriac, mushroom and beer casserole with cheesy dumplings
- 800 g celeriac
- 200 g shallots
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 400 g mushroom
- 125 g dried soft figs
- 1 tbsp ginger grated
- 1 tbsp garlic crushed
- 1 tsp mild smokey chilli flakes such as ancho
- 500 ml brown ale
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 500 ml vegetable stock
- 75 g vegetable suet
- 150 g flour
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- 50 g cheddar cheese grated
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 pinch thyme leaves
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius.
- Prepare the celeriac and shallots. Peel and cut the celeriac into largish chunks (2 x 4 cm) and peel the shallots. Place them on a baking tray and coat them with olive oil and a little salt and pepper. Place in the oven for 30 minutes until the celeriac is soft and beginning to brown.800 g celeriac, 3 tbsp olive oil, 200 g shallots
- Meanwhile, place a tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan and fry the garlic, ginger and ancho chilli flakes for a few minutes. Add the beer and brown sugar and simmer until reduced by half.1 tbsp ginger, 1 tbsp garlic, 1 tsp mild smokey chilli flakes, 500 ml brown ale, 1 tbsp brown sugar
- Slice the mushrooms into 4 pieces. Stir fry them gently until just beginning to release their water. Set them to one side.400 g mushroom
- Make the dumplings. MIx the flour, baking powder, vegetable suet, chopped thyme leaves, salt and cheese in a bowl. Slowly add cold water until it becomes a dough. You should see pieces of suet in the dough that don't break down. If the dough becomes sticky add more flour. Gently roll small bits of dough between your hands and place them to one side. This should make about 10 balls.150 g flour, 1 ½ tsp baking powder, 50 g cheddar cheese, 1 tsp salt, 1 pinch thyme leaves, 75 g vegetable suet
- Once the beer has reduced by half, pour in the stock and stir.500 ml vegetable stock
- Once the celeriac and shallots are out of the oven, place them in a casserole dish with beer/stock and mushrooms. Place the dough balls ontop. Here you can brush the dumplings with a little egg wash to make them more golden and crispy – but this is optional. If you don't do this step, the dumplings will just look a little pale in colour. Place the casserole dish back in the oven for 30 minutes, until the casserole is bubbling and the dumplings are browning.125 g dried soft figs