Baby onion and mushroom ‘cassoulet’

This dinner was devised in Portugal then created and eaten in Spain. Below is what happened and how to make it should you so desire.

Method

I like it a lot when you see an ingredient and base a meal around that. In this case Local baby white onions from a random corner shop in Seixal (Portugal). They were in a cardboard box, grown round the corner and very muddy, awesome!

I though they would go well with mushrooms in a sort of casserole type thing, time to hunt for some mushrooms… I found some assorted mushrooms in Bayona (Spain).

Oyster mushrooms, check.

These ones with a fat stalk, check.

Unknown ones I have named jellyfish mushrooms as they look like and have the same squishy texture, check.

Also some normal button mushrooms to bulk it out. Check. 

Happen across local ‘raw chorizo’ sausage, bingo! But any sausage will do. 😉 or pancetta to compliment the meaty mushrooms.

Back on the boat find a big pot, preferably nonstick put on high heat and with Olive oil

Chop sausage into large chunks and add to pot. 

Peel onions but keep whole, add to pot.

Allow both to brown for 5min ish stirring quite regularly so they don’t brown, or you can just give the pot a good shake every so often.

Add a knob of butter and the mushrooms along with some mixed herbs (Provençal or Mediterranean mix is good) anything with thyme and oregano. and again allow to brown.

Tip: If your pot is not big enough or your heat not high enough you won’t be able to brown the ingredients and they will just stew. This is not good, especially for the mushrooms. You may wish to fry each ingredient separately in a frying pan before adding to the pot. 

Deglaze with about 1/3 bottle of decent red wine. 

Squeeze in whatever tomato paste you have left, there’s always half a tube at the back of the fridge. A table spoon of Dijon mustard. And a glug of Lee & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce doesn’t go amiss if available but not essential. And some veg stock, cube, powder bouillon anything will do.

At this point you realise you forgot the garlic so roughly chop 4-6 cloves, throw in and say nothing more about it. 

Add enough water to cover everything, bring to the boil, put on a tight fitting lid (important), and turn right down to a gentle simmer. 

Allow to bubble away for at least 30min but preferably an hour. Stir occasionally but be gentle so as not to break up the onions and mushrooms. After you have cooked it for long enough remove the lid and crank up the heat to reduce until you get the consistency of a quite thick strew. I don’t think you need to add anything to thicken it as I think the mustard does quite a good job of this. Don’t forget to stir so it doesn’t burn on the bottom.

A few minutes before you want to serve chuck in a load of spinach because you can’t be bothered to cook separate greens, turn off the heat, stir and put the lid back on. 

Only now season to taste with salt and pepper, stir and put on table. 

What to serve it with? Many things were suggested and boiled or mashed potatoes would work well I think, but in the end we just went for big hunks of bread and butter which was fantastic! And the rest of the bottle of red wine if the chef hasn’t already drunk it!

Yum yum, now we’re not such hungry sailors. Until tomorrow at least!

Ingredients

I never really know the exact amount of ingredients I use so the below is a rough guess. 

The following makes enough to feed two hungry sailors for dinner with enough left over for a small portion each the next day. Like chilli and curry this dish is possibly even better a day later!

20 baby onions
A good handful each of 4 different types of mushrooms
4 big bangers cut into quarters
2-6 cloves of garlic depending on how much you like it
If your using the dried mixed herbs from a jar then about a heaped teaspoon
1/3 bottle red wine
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 glug = 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 veg stock cube or equivalent
Some amount of water
4 handfuls of spinach (optional)

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