Friday, April 23, 2010
IN MY FREEZER
I love this stuff, it has the ability to change a "thrown together in a couple of minutes" dish into a "this is something that I have made with care and time" dish. All this and yet so ugly!!
This is onion mush/onion confit/caramelized onions, and whatever it is called it is a wonderful thing to have a healthy supply of in your freezer (I take this so much to heart that I feel a low grade panic when my stock dwindles past a certain level!!)
I would recommend that you make onion mush on a day when you know you will be home as it does take quite a long time to cook, although if you follow Nigella's (it is of course a Nigella recipe) directions exactly it could be made in a couple of hours, mine however takes about six hours - two reasons for this, I overfill my pans (just can't resist putting those extra onions in!!) and my hob's low setting is very, very low.
What do I use my onion mush for? It's first function is always to make the best sandwich of all time, just take your bread/roll smear with mustard, then with the onion and finally with your meat/cheese of choice - heaven on a plate!! Secondly it is a wonderful vegetable/garnish with a steak supper, the deep savoury sweetness of the onion is so much better than any harsh quick cooked type of onion. Thirdly, and the reason why I make so much of the mush, it simplifies and improves the whole casserole and soup making process. All you do is add a 50g (equals one onion) bag of mush to your dish at the beginning, (after browning your meat for a casserole) add the rest of the ingredients and you end up with a dish that tastes deep, comforting and cared for!
Also, and this is important, you can throw a casserole together in the morning, leave it in the oven (with the timer on) or slow cooker and you do not smell of onion for the day - reason enough to make it just there!!
Because the mush freezes so well I make a double batch, but this is the recipe as originally created by Ms Lawson.
1 kg onions
1 heaped tbsp butter
4 tbsp olive oil
100ml Marsala (I have used sherry and it was fine)
75ml boiling water
Peel the onions, then chop very thin (best done in the food processor).
Put a heavy based frying pan on a very low heat ( I use my Le Creuset casseroles) you might need two pans.
Add the butter and oil to the pan and immediately add the onion.
Add salt, press down the onions and add the Marsala and boiling water.
Cover with tin foil pressed down onto the onions shiny side down. (I actually cover the onions with greaseproof paper and then tinfoil)
Seal the pan with another layer of tinfoil and the lid.
Cook for about 2 hours at the very lowest setting (using a diffuser if necessary)
Check after and hour and give it a good stir, to make sure there is no sticking (if there is the heat is too high)
When your mush is very soft take off the lid and coverings and turn up the heat to evaporate any juices.
It is ready when the mush is soft and caramel coloured.
Cool and bag up into 50g portions.
I find that when I make the mush I am on a roll, and therefore use up the chicken carcases I have stored in the freezer to make stock. I don't bother washing out the casseroles - add the chicken bones, an onion, carrot, stick of celery some herbs and of course water, and in no time my freezer is full with stock and mush and I can feel that I have this "Suzie Homemaker" stuff cracked (until I spot the pile of laundry to be done!!!)