Sunday, September 18, 2011

Slow and simple

On Friday we commemorated Harvey's birthday in fine style. I knew our mutual friend was bringing some magnificent beef for the main course, and a fine red to go with it, so I decided to splash out on Harvey's favourite entree - a dozen Bluff oysters. With them we had a very dry white Waimea wine I brought back from my trip to Nelson, made from a grape variety I'd never come across before: grüner veltliner.
            The oysters, of course, didn't require me to do anything, but it was also my job to come up with the veges to go with the beef. I made a potato gratin using stock instead of milk - it looked gorgeous with its overlapping thin slices, but I didn't take a photo, dammit - and a big yellow pepper, charred over the gas, put in a plastic bag so its skin would come off easily, then sliced and softened in the oven.
             These two went very well with the red onion confit I made that morning in the slow cooker. I haven't done it this way before, but it worked perfectly, and it was great to be able to leave it without worrying about it catching and burning. I adapted it from the caramelised onions recipe in Great Ideas for Crockpots and Slow Cookers, by Fiona Willison (2004).

Red onion confit
4 red onions, peeled and finely sliced
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup soft brown sugar
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large or 2 small sprigs of rosemary
salt and pepper to taste

Turn the slow cooker to high and allow it to warm for 20 minutes.
Put all the ingredients in the warmed cooker. Cover and cook for 2 hours on high. Take the lid off and cook for another 2-3 hours until the onions are very soft. Check seasoning and adjust if necessary.

If you have any left over, it's very good warmed through and served on little pieces of toast, either on its own or alongside breakfast bacon. ( I haven't yet tried the amazing recipe on Hungry and Frozen for a kind of "jam" combining bacon and onion, but I can imagine it...)
               After all that, we had a suitably restrained dessert brought by another friend - a little cheese, then some delicate orange jellies (the recipe was from What's for Pudding). It was a beautiful evening, and I was grateful.


Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, the smells and flavours bounce off this post. What a lovely spread, thank you.

Mel said...

Happy birthday to Harvey :)

And, Anne, I think it is wonderful that you celebrated this special day in style! Have a feeling, though I didn't get the chance to meet Harvey, that he would be very happy to know that.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely way to celebrate Harvey's birthday :)

And that red onion confit looks lovely, something I'd love to have with toast like you suggested, or maybe a little cheese.