The slow pace

Sunday lunch

Sometimes we need to spend a Sunday morning in the kitchen and prepare a special Sunday lunch. We always picture it like this relaxing experience, with Instagram appropriate moments, a lovely scent in the air, our favourite music in the background… But the truth is that we always stress about missing some important step of the recipe we are preparing, we never take an Instagram picture, let alone an IG Story, and we have to stop the music because like my nonna used to say: che confusione!  So, real life hits and the process is not as smooth as we imagined. But the result is always worth it!

Last Sunday was one of those Sundays. It was freezing outside, so we decided to cosy up at home and roll up our pyjamas sleeves to cook something comforting: a lighter take on a British Sunday roast. To be honest, we cheated from the beginning because we had bought an excellent roast beef in a local fancy supermarket the day before, so all we prepared were the vegetables, but still, we managed to cook them in three different preparations (tap on the shoulder). We did a celeriac gratin, a shallot purée and some sauteed mushrooms.

The celeriac gratin was the first thing we prepared. If you don’t eat celeriac we recommend you to give them a try. We discovered them when we moved to Germany and we love them raw in salads, especially with tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.  But this time we used them to substitute potatoes in this gratin. For this recipe you will need:

2 celeriacs, peeled and finely sliced
100 ml vegetable stock (we cheat again, it wasn’t homemade)
25 ml double cream
Fresh thyme to taste
2 garlic cloves, peeled
Black pepper

Pour the vegetable stock, the cream, the fresh thyme and garlic into a saucepan over medium heat for five minutes. In the meantime put the sliced celeriac in a bowl. When the sauce is warm, pour it over the celeriac and season with black pepper. You can add salt if you want, but we prefer not to.

Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Line a tin with greaseproof paper and layer up the celeriac slices until you use them all. Pour the sauce that might be left in the bowl all over the celeriac, cover with foil and place it in the oven for 30 minutes. Then, remove the foil and leave it 10 additional minutes so that the top coat gets a warmer colour.

While your gratin is in the oven, you can prepare the shallot purée and the mushrooms. You will need:

For the shallot purée:
8 shallots, chopped
50 gr butter
Fresh thyme to taste
25 ml double cream
Pepper

For the mushrooms:
200 gr mixed mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, sliced
Fresh parsley to taste
Extra virgin olive oil

Begin with the purée: place the shallots in a saucepan with the butter and thyme over low to medium heat until the shallots start to caramelise, then add the cream and pepper. Remove from the heat and whisk until you have a fine purée. Set aside.

Then place a frying pan over high heat, add a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, then the mushrooms and cook until they are brown and soft. Add the garlic and parsley and cook for another five minutes.

By now, your gratin should be ready so all you have to do is serve: a dollop of shallot purée, a couple of slices of roast beef, a portion of celeriac gratin and some mushrooms. You can add a few green leaves if you want to add some freshness.

The shallot purée is the real star of this Sunday lunch.  Its sweet flavour will enhance the other elements of the plate and make them combine perfectly, like a delicious common thread.

So here you have: three recipes in one, perfect to impress your guests or just treat yourself to a nice, home cooked meal.

PS: This recipe is a take on a Sunday Roast of Sophie Michell’s book Chef on a Diet.