I love Nigel Slater. I don’t think that’s too strong an emotion. He’s a proper cook, and he writes beautifully. I love good food and good writing, so what is there not to love about him?
I first came across him many many years ago – in the early 90s, with his series of books: Real Fast Food, The 30-minute Cook, and Real Cooking. See, Nigel was doing this 30 minute mullarkey long before Jamie got on that band wagon. Mind you, he never professed to help you make a whole meal in 30 minutes, usually just one fabulously tasty course, although often in less than the 30 minutes allotted, so you’d have time to rustle up a second course if you fancied it.
Anyway, Nigel, oh Nigel. I try to love you on telly too, but I just don’t. There’s something about your relationship with food (which we know all about, thanks to your excellent memoir, Toast) which is just ever so slightly creepy. So, if you don’t mind, I’ll probably stick to reading your books and articles in magazines from now on.
However, had I not seen you on TV the other night, I wouldn’t have discovered this gem of a recipe. It’s a perfect Autumn supper. Or a Winter supper too probably, but I’m in denial about Winter yet. I know the clocks have gone back, but I’m still clinging to Autumn for a few weeks yet. So, Autumnal suppers it will be.
This is what we’re having again tonight. Adapted of course, because I doubt I have precisely all the right ingredients to hand, although I know I have mushrooms, sausages and chestnuts, so I’m pretty much sorted.
So, thanks Nigel. And the BBC.
This is supper for 2 people. Or starters for 4.
Autumn sausage supper
4 large mushrooms
1 Tbsp olive oil
A couple of good sprigs of thyme, with the leaves picked off them
1-2 Tbsp madeira or sherry, or stock
1 medium onion, or a couple of shallots
4 tasty, herby sausages, Lincolnshire or similar will be good
A sprig of rosemary
4oz fresh breadcrumbs
4oz chestnuts, chopped
Pre-heat oven to 180C / 350F / GM4
- Remove the stalks from the mushrooms, and place the mushrooms in a large oven dish.
- Place a wee knob of butter in each one and then drizzle them with some olive oil
- Sprinkle the thyme leaves into the mushrooms and then glug some madeira all over them
- Pop the mushrooms in the oven for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, the sun is probably over the yard arm by now, so you should pour yourself a glass of wine while you do the rest
- Roughly chop the onions and sweat in a frying pan with a little butter until golden
- Remove the sausage skin and break the meat into chunks and put in the pan with the onions
- Throw in the rosemary (either a whole sprig, or chopped up a bit) and add the breadcrumbs and allow to cook through slightly
- Add the chopped chestnuts and mix all together
- Now, if this has worked out, your 20 minutes for the mushrooms should be pretty much up, if not, put your feet up for a minute or two and have a glug of that wine. Or prepare some savoy cabbage to have as a side
- When the mushrooms have had about 20 mins, take them out and heap generous mounds of sausagey stuffing over the top of each mushroom, and all around, either in yummy heaps, or shape into slightly more cheffy balls
- Return the dish to the oven for a further half hour. The stuffing should become crisp and golden
- Serve with savoy cabbage, or brussels sprouts (if you can bear them). I’m going to try a juniper brussels sprouts recipe tonight, in a bid to make the hateful veg acceptable. The man loves them.