|mushroom and sherry sauce|
This sauce is the foundation or building block of a good meal. You can dress it up with extra mushrooms and you can accessorise it with a good steak or vegetables; Blend it up with a handful of walnuts and fresh herbs and it is perfect with pasta; Add the juices from a roast chicken and it becomes a rather good gravy.
There is nothing like having a malleable sauce in your stockpile of recipes, and like a little black dress, it will never go out of fashion!
Skill level: Easy
1 tbsp olive oil
a knob of butter
1 x small onion, finely chopped
1 x garlic clove, finely chopped
225g chestnut (brown) mushrooms, quartered
500ml vegetable stock (I used a good quality bouillon such as Marigold)
1 x bay leaf
a sprig of fresh thyme or ½ tsp dried thyme
2 tbsp sherry
salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Heat the olive oil and butter in a saucepan. Add the onion a sprinkle of salt. Stir until well coated with the oil and butter. Cover and cook over a low to medium heat until softened but not coloured. This may take about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure that the onions don't brown.
- Add the garlic and mushrooms and stir again. Recover and cook for 5 minutes. The mushrooms should start to release some of their water into the saucepan.
- Add the stock, herbs and sherry. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Set the sauce aside to cool slightly.
- Remove the bay leaf and what is left of the thyme sprig. (Strip off any of the remaining leaves into the sauce).
- Liquidise until smooth.
- Gently reheat and check the seasoning.
- Replace the vegetable stock with either chicken or beef stock.
- Add a handful of walnuts and herbs such as parsley and basil and blend up for a pasta sauce.
- If I have any leftover sauce, I often either add this to whatever stew I am cooking whether it is the ragù for a spag bol or a beef and ale stew.
- If I have enough left over and I want a soothing bowl of rice, mushrooms and peas, (eaten while curled up on the sofa watching CSI), then I quite often use the sauce instead of water while cooking the rice. (I use the reduction method of cooking rice).