This is sooooo good! I know I always seem to say that and I really DO mean it each and every time…………
but I gotta tell you…….. this stuff. Oh man.
Take a favorite cooler-weather culinary pleasure (in this case, a satisfyingly steamy bowl of something yummy), take out the copious amounts of carbs (think potatoes, pasta, bread, beans), add in a plentiful pack of superabundant sustenance (like, ya know, just some major vitamin, mineral, antioxidant action), and you will end up with this amazing bowl of body and soul satisfaction.
You will want to dive into this head first….and never come up for air.
Fiercely flavorful, cozy and delicious; this is flat-out comfort food with a seriously updated operating system. You want B-vitamins? Flavonoids? Glucosinolates? Yes, actually you do. And I suspect you also want something easy to make, that is so incredibly tasty that you would happily serve it to company (I see you sneaking in around the corner there, Thanksgiving…..). Simple, easy to acquire ingredients. Check check and check.
I am so stoked over this one; wait until I tell you all of the good things you are in for……….
Look at this! Did I promise simple ingredients or what? Onion, mushrooms, cauliflower, some fresh thyme if it works for you (but I promise the dried stuff you probably have in your pantry right this moment works perfectly too, so don’t think twice about that), is really about all you need. Make sure there’s some butter or olive oil hanging around (either or but I love to use both), as well as some fresh parsley……once again not imperative but a really nice touch.
Start with that big ol’ onion. You want to use a really sharp knife because you are going to cut this awesome Allium into supremely thin slices. Take your time…….if you shave off any appendages, it won’t be considered vegetarian anymore (har der har, I’m here all week), so be careful. You should end up with about three cups (or more) of the stuff. Seems like a lot, but not for long.
Melt some butter and olive oil in a nice big pan and add those onions. Patience is the name of the game here, so you will keep this over a medium to barely high heat. A nice pinch of salt will draw out the water in the onions, which is what you want. Keep an eye on these, and give them a stir every so often. Onions are full of quercetin, a super flavonoid (if you want to get all nerdy, go here) that is not only impervious to the cooking process (you know how sometimes the nutrients of something can be destroyed by overcooking?), but in this case it just gets better and better. Who knew?
After about 15 minutes, once your onions get to looking a lot like this, turn the heat down to medium low and place a lid over the pan. Take a peek and give it a stir every so often…..let this do its thing for another 10 minutes or so……
You can take this time to core and roughly chop your cauliflower. This beautiful Brassicaceae, known for its bounty of vitamin C and Beta Carotene (to name a few), is full of glucosinolates, which are known to support cardiovascular, immune, digestive, and detoxification processes in our own personal little eco-systems. Good stuff.
Besides, I’ll take that over a colonic any day. (oh, yikes.)
Anyhoo, into a big pot of water they go. You are going to boil these up just as if you were cooking potatoes. This won’t take long, just let ’em bubble away until they are nice and tender when you stick a fork into one. The softer the better, for a nice smooth mash. Once they are ready to go, drain off the water and get that cauliflower back into the hot pot. Toss in a few knobs of butter (or a drizzle of olive oil), a healthy pinch of salt, and mash away. An immersion blender is your friend when it comes to this sort of task.
Would you look at this. All browned and beautifully caramelized, you just took a lowly onion and turned it into a work of art (for the taste buds). It’s time to add your mushrooms, a dash of salt, and a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme. A little white wine would be good. I used chicken stock. Just a dash.
Home stretch! Give this a stir, and then back on with the lid for about five minutes, to get those little guys nice and softened and perfectly cooked together.
Just enough time here for a fungi fun fact……are you ready?
Mushrooms are the delectable exception to the rule that plants don’t contain vitamin D. It is in fact the only source of that elusive vitamin in the produce aisle. And you know…vitamin D…sunshine vitamin….blah blah blah……well, it’s just not that easy to get when we don’t spend that much time in the sun (and if you do, you should be wearing sunscreen so there’s that). We all have bones….so eat your mushrooms.
This makes it practically sinful…….
This makes enough for two or three servings, but if you want to have more on hand just double everything. Patience is the key for this, nothing too difficult but to get the onion perfect it just takes…..time. So you’re looking at – at least thirty minutes of cook time. Which, considering the stunning results, is not asking too much. Now go get shroomie.
- 1 big yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced (you'll end up with about 3 1/2 cups)
- 8 oz package of sliced mushrooms* roughly chopped
- 1 head of cauliflower, cored and roughly chopped
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided **
- Olive oil
- 1/2 cup chicken broth, OR veggie broth, OR 1/4 cup white wine and 1/4 cup broth
- 2 sprigs of fresh thyme (or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme will work)
- Kosher salt or sea salt
- Fresh parsley, chopped (not much....just a little, because it's always a nice touch and it actually does add some freshness to this otherwise pretty heady dish. Totally optional but I hope you have some that you can use!)
- In a medium pan, heat two tablespoons of butter with a glug or two (maybe two tablespoons) of olive oil. Add the sliced onions and a pinch of salt and cook on a medium to high heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Once the onions become golden and soft, cover the pan and turn the heat to medium low. Continue to give this an occasional stir, and take care that nothing burns, for another ten minutes, or until the onions have browned and shrunk in volume considerably.
- Place the chopped cauliflower into a large pot and cover with water. Bring this to a boil, and let it bubble away until it feels nice and tender when you stick it with a fork. Longer is better when you are cooking cauliflower with the intent to mash it up. Drain the water and return to the hot pot. Add two tablespoons of butter (or some olive oil, or both) and a healthy pinch of salt, and smash away. Electric beaters or an immersion blender works great for this. Keep warm.
- Once you have perfectly caramelized onions, add the chopped mushrooms, another pinch of salt, and another drizzle of olive oil to the pan. Give this a stir. Add 1/2 cup of liquid of your choice, either chicken broth, or veggie broth, or a combination of any of those with some wine. Pop in the thyme sprigs, OR you can always use dried thyme. Cover this and let it go for another 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms are nice and tender.
- SERVE IT UP!
- Plop down a nice portion of the cauliflower smash and create a bit of a well. Spoon in some of that amazingly luscious mushroom onion love (make sure to pull out those thyme twigs if you used fresh) and top that with a sprinkle of chopped parsley. Eat with abandon....this shiz is really, really good for you.
- * I used baby bellas, and I like them pre-sliced because they seem to be less gritty than if you purchase them whole
- **Olive oil alone can stand in for the butter if that is your preference. But only if you MUST!