It’s Valentines Day tomorrow. Does anyone care? Thought not. Now I don’t have a problem with flowers, chocolates or even ugly bears with hearts sewn to their paws but I do have a problem with couples who shell out on real gifts. There is just something inherently pushy about Valentines Day and the presumption that you would buy anything other than flowers and chocolates deeply offends me. I mean who does that? If Jamie bought me a fancy Jo Malone candle for Valentines Day I’d be very cross. That money could have gone towards a very affordable microwave.
Anyway, I did actually make Jamie a romantic dinner a few weeks back because I’m nice like that. The velvety breton sauce is the key to this dish, it’s easy but takes about an hour to make. Once made though, the rest of the recipe is quick and simple. I tend to make the sauce the night before and pop it in the fridge until I’m ready to use it. Breton sauce is not traditionally vegetarian being French but I was determined to create a vegetarian dish that could stand up in a French restaurant. Oh and if you’re not keen on the idea of chickpea mash then normal mash will suffice. Bon appetite mon amie.
Leek and Mushroom Breton with Chickpea Mash
Serves 4 / 1 hour 40 minutes
You’ll need: a hand blender or a food processor for the mash but if you don’t have either then substitute the chickpea mash for regular mash.
1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 celery rib roughly chopped
85g unsalted butter
40g plain flour
1 litre vegetable stock ( I use 2 knorr vegetable stock pots)
2 large crushed garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
Half tsp black peppercorns
1 tbs Worcester sauce
100ml red wine*
2tbs tomato purée
2 large Leeks
5 chestnut Mushrooms
3 cans of chick peas drained
3 large garlic cloves crushed
Half an onion
*Most wines are unfortunately not vegetarian or vegan, due to products used in the ‘fining’ process. Wine makers are also under no obligation to disclose if they have used animal products on the label. Vegetarian and vegan wines are available in most supermarkets.
1. Melt the butter in a large heavy bottomed pot and add the roughly chopped onion, carrot and celery .Cook on a low heat until soft for around 10 minutes.
2. Add the flour and stir into the carrot and onion mixture. Add a litre of vegetable stock in a fast stream and whisk to get rid of any lumps.
3. Add garlic, bay leaf, red wine, salt, peppercorns, Worcester sauce, tomato purée and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer gently for 40 minutes. Give it a mix every now and again to get the skin off the top and to prevent it sticking to the bottom of the pot.
4. Sieve the sauce into a bowl. The sauce will be thick so I use a wooden spoon to squidge it down before leaving it for 10 minutes to strain by itself. You want to try and get as much sauce out as possible. Disregard the pulp and either refrigerate the sauce over night like I do or pour back into the heavy bottomed pot and bring to the boil.
5. Add the chopped mushrooms, leeks and carrots to the sauce and simmer until vegetables are tender (around 15 Minutes).
6. Meanwhile in a large saucepan, add half a chopped onion, 3 large crushed garlic cloves and a knob of butter. Heat until soft (add a bit of water to help the onions cook in their own steam).
7. Once cooked add three drained cans of chickpeas. Heat through, season with salt and pepper and shmush with a hand blender until you have mash. If you don’t have a hand blender then use a food processor. Finish with a generous knob of butter and a good season of salt and pepper.
8. Plate up your mash, cover with the Breton sauce and serve with a sprinkle of chopped fresh parsley.
If you’ve had a go at making my Leek & Mushroom Breton or any of my other recipes I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale firstname.lastname@example.org