This is just the dish for cold and gloomy January with rich flavours from the mushrooms and red wine and soft comforting textures from the cauliflower. The Smoked Chilli Ketchup is used instead of a tomato puree and it gives the dish gentle smoked tones, a mild heat and sweetness from the balsamic vinegar.
15 tbsp / 270 ml Early harvest Olive Oil
400g frozen pearl onions that have been defrosted, or 12 peeled round shallots
1kg mushrooms, ideally a mix of button, chestnut and portobello, cut into halves or thickly sliced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stick, finely chopped
1 leek, outer skin removed, washed and finely chopped
2 fresh bay leaves
1 sprig each fresh rosemary and thyme
200 ml red wine
1 tbsp plain flour
2-3 tbsp Smoked Chilli Ketchup, depending on how spicy you want it
1 vegetable stock cube, to make 300 ml stock
1 head cauliflower
200ml unsweetened oat milk or similar
1 small bunch of chives, finely chopped (optional)
Place a large frying pan on a high heat and when hot, add 2tbsp olive oil and then add the pearl onions or shallots. Fry them for 4-5 minutes or until they are browned on all sides, then remove from the pan on to a plate or bowl. Now add another 1 tbsp of olive oil then add around half the mushrooms. Keep the heat on high and cook them quickly till they are lightly browned but take them out before they start to release any liquid. Remove from the pan and set aside then repeat with the remaining mushrooms.
Place a large saucepan or casserole dish on a medium to high heat and when hot, add 4 tbsp. olive oil and then 3 cloves of chopped garlic. Allow this to fry for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until a pale golden brown, then add the chopped onion, celery, leek, bay leaves and rosemary any thyme. Season well with salt and pepper then stir well to mix everything together. Cook for around, 15 minutes, stirring frequently and turning the heat down a little if it starts to stick, so that the vegetables are soft, sweet and beginning to caramelise. If after 15 minutes it still feels firm, then keep cooking. Whilst the base is cooking, boil a kettle and make up the vegetable stock.
Add the red wine and allow to simmer so that it reduces by around half then sprinkle the flour over everything and stir well with a wooden spoon so that everything is well mixed together. Add around half of the stock and keep stirring so that you have a loose paste with no lumps then add the remaining stock and the smoked chilli ketchup and stir so that everything has mixed together.
Add the mushrooms and onions to the pot and turn the heat up so the liquid comes to a gentle simmer. Place a lid on the pan, turn the heat the heat down a little and cook for 20 minutes. Now remove the lid and cook for another 10-15 minutes. The onions and mushrooms should now be tender and the sauce should have reduced and thickened. Taste and add more salt and pepper if you feel that it needs it.
To make the cauliflower mash first remove the stalks and leaves and if in good condition keep for another use, such as soup then cut up into big chunks, including the inner stem part. Use a food processor to quickly break the cauliflower into small chunks. If you don’t have a food processor then use a knife to finely chop the cauliflower into small pieces
Place a large pan on a medium to high heat and when hot add, 7tbsp olive oil, the cauliflower and remaining chopped garlic, then season well with salt in order to draw out the liquid. Now cook slowly for 20-30 minutes, stirring frequently, turning down the heat if it begins to caramelise, with the aim of the cauliflower being completely soft and sweet tasting.
Once it is tasting soft and sweet add the oat milk and bring to a simmer, then cook till all the liquid has been absorbed and evaporated. Its important to let all the liquid reduce till the pan looks a little dry as if it is too wet when you mash it, it can end up like a puree.
The easy way to make the mash is to blitz it in a food processor or hand blender but a regular potato masher will work fine, but it might not be as smooth. Either way, mash till smooth then taste and add more salt and pepper as needed, then stir the chives though.