JAMES MACKENZIE'S BRAISED ONION, WILD MUSHROOM, SPINACH, CHEDDAR RAREBIT, SAGE & ONION SOUBISE WITH HAZLENUTS
6 large white onions, peeled
400g wild mushrooms
500g baby leaf spinach, washed
2 garlic cloves, peeled
300ml whipping cream
1 litre vegetable stock
1 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
4 tbsp parsley, chopped
2 tbsp thyme, chopped
150g Estate Dairy Salted Butter
100g hazelnuts, peeled
1 Small bag watercress
8 Baby leeks or spring onions (optional)
To braise the onions
Cut 4 onions in half through the centre horizontally (not through the root).
Sear the flat side of each half in a hot dry frying pan until almost burnt in colour. Lay all 8 halves flat, colour side up in a deep baking tray. Pour the litre of vegetable stock into the tray, place a small knob of butter on top of each onion, season with salt, ground black pepper and a sprinkle of thyme. Cover the tray with foil and bake in the oven at 180C for about 2 hours until just soft. When cool remove a few centre layers of the onion leaving 2-3 layers as a carrier for the filling. Reserve the centre of the onion for the filling.
For the rarebit
Place milk, mature cheddar and English mustard into a sauce pan and warm through to melt the cheese. Add the flour and breadcrumbs. Cook over a medium heat, stirring continuously for about 5-10 minutes until thick. Leave to cool then beat the egg yolks into the cheese mix. Place in a bowl covered in the fridge until needed.
For the sage and onion soubise
Thinly slice 1 onion in a saucepan with a knob of butter and the chopped sage. Sweat the onions over a medium heat with a lid on for about 45 minutes. When soft add 100ml of cream and cook for a further 5 minutes without a lid. Blend to a fine puree (it should be a thick sauce consistency) and season to taste.
For the hazelnuts
Roast the hazelnuts on a tray in the oven at 180C for 6-8 minutes until nicely brown. Roughly chop by hand.
For the baby leeks
Blanch in salted water for 2 minutes, then sauté in a knob of butter to add colour.
To make the mushroom filling
Prep the wild mushroom keeping whole or part chopping depending on size/ variety of the mushroom. Chop the reserved centre of the onion and place in a hot frying pan with a knob of butter, the chopped garlic and the mushrooms. Cook for 1- 2 minutes over a medium to high heat. Add 200ml of cream and the baby leaf spinach, turn up to a high heat to reduce cream and wilt the spinach. Season to taste and finish the mushroom and spinach mix with the chopped parsley.
Assembling the onion
Place the onion shells onto a baking tray. Spoon the mix into the 8 onion shells. Top with a flattened piece of the rarebit. Bake in oven at 180C for 11-12 minutes. Serve hot garnished with the soubise sauce, cracked hazelnuts, baby leeks and watercress.