Have a Cigar, Go For a Ride on the Gravy Train
I was tempted to buy Pink Floyds, Wish You Were Here album last weekend for a buck at the flea market. The problem with those ‘affordable’ albums is they’re typically pretty beat up. This one was no exception. I saved my dollar and picked up some fresh fungi with it instead.
So rather than spinning LPs on Sunday, I was spinning puff pastry, caramelizing onions and cuing potatoes. The mushroom gravy I made with those lovely caps turned out to be infinitely more delicious than vinyl. Though some Pink Floyd fans may disagree with me there.
You don’t need to be on the ‘gravy train’ to eat like you are. Five minutes with this savoury tart, dripping in full bodied gravy and you’ll be aboard my favourite train. The one that goes to flavour town.
Caramelized Onion and Potato Tart
4 Tbls Butter
4 medium sweet onions, sliced very thinly
1/2 cup white wine
4 Tbls olive oil
4-5 small potatoes, peeled and sliced very thinly
1 Tbls chopped fresh sage
1 Tbls chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup creamy soft cheese (shallot & chive Boursin)
5 puff pastry rounds, 4 1/4” wide
*You can use store bought puff pastry or make your own following the recipe below. The recipe below is great, as you can make it before you begin cooking the other ingredients and it’s ready to roll out by the time everything else is set for assembly.
In a large pan, heat butter over medium heat. Add onions and saute for 30 mins. Drop the heat to low and saute for another 20 mins stirring occasionally. Onions should be medium to dark brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a second pan, heat up olive oil over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced potatoes, finely chopped herbs, salt and pepper. Cook about 8 mins stirring often until potatoes are soft and have a bit of colour on them. Remove from heat and set aside.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Celsius.
While the potatoes and onions are finishing up in the saute pans, roll out your puff pastry and cut decent size rounds (4 1/4”). Place 3 rounds on one parchment lined baking sheet and 2 on the other.
For assembly, cover each round with about 2 liberal tablespoons of caramelized onions, layer 7-9 slices of potato atop the onions, and crumble on some soft cheese.
Bake 15-20 minutes until top of potatoes and cheese are a golden brown.
Exotic Mushroom Gravy
4-5 chanterelle mushrooms, finely chopped
4-5 shiitake mushrooms, finely chopped
1 large oyster mushroom, finely chopped
2 Tbls butter
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 sweet onion, finely chopped
1 Tbls soy sauce
1/2 cup red wine
1 Tbls balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 Tbls cornstarch, dissolved in 1 1/2 c vegetable broth and 1/2 c water
1/2 tsp sugar
3/4 Tbls fresh rosemary, finely chopped
3/4 Tbls fresh sage, finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
Melt butter in a large pan, over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, and saute until golden brown (5-6 mins). Add mushrooms and soy sauce. Saute another 5-6 minutes until moisture has cooked out of the mushrooms and they have begun to brown. Add wine and vinegar and reduce. Add vegetable broth, water, cornstarch combo and sugar. Stir well and bring gravy to a simmer, allowing it to thicken, 2-3 minutes. Stir the fresh herbs in and remove from heat. Set aside to spoon over the caramelized onion and potato tart.
Rough Puff Pastry
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
340g (24 Tbls) unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces
3/4 cup ice cold water
On a clean surface or in a bowl sift flour and salt over the cold butter pieces. Using a pastry scraper, knife or pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour until you have a crumbly mixture. Use your fingertips to combine any larger pieces. Add the ice cold water a little bit at a time and combine with flour mixture to make a loose dough. Roll it to about 1/2 an inch thick and shape into a rectangle. Do not overmix the dough, it will come together eventually.
Using the pastry scraper or large knife fold the dough over itself in thirds so that you have three layers of dough stacked. It will be flaky and messy but don’t worry, carry on. Turn the dough 90 degrees and roll out to 1/2 an inch thick once again. Fold the dough in thirds three to four more times, remembering to turn it 90 degrees each time before you roll it out. You always want to fold the open ends in.
Wrap the dough in plastic and chill in the freezer for 20-25 mins or refrigerate for 35-40 mins. When you’re ready to use the dough give it 1 or 2 final turns before rolling to about a 1/4 of an inch thick. In this recipe I used a 4 1/4 inch round cutter to shape my puff pastry.
Ok. Now put it all together and get your eat on.
Makes 5 portions
Onion and Potato Tart Recipe adapted from Fresh 365
Exotic Mushroom Gravy recipe attributed to Fresh 365
Rough Puff Pastry recipe attributed to Fine Cooking
Photos by Maggie Murphy