We’ll get right to it: this is a recipe every CSA member everywhere should have in their arsenal. It’s easy, it works with just about any vegetable you find in your share these days (except the leafy stuff like lettuce and cooking greens), and it’s seriously delicious.
To braise means to cook in a small amount of liquid in a covered dish for a long time at a relatively low temperature. It’s a perfect cooking method for the tough roots, firm winter squashes, and strong-tasting cabbages you’re seeing in your CSA shares and on market tables everywhere right now. Braising tames even the most pungent vegetables into something earthy, tender, and sweet.
Here’s the basic idea: grab a couple casserole dishes. Chop two or three or four kinds of vegetables very coarsely, arrange them in crowded single layers in the dishes, and douse with olive oil and/or broth and/or white wine and/or water. Add salt, pepper, and red pepper. Cover tightly with foil and cook in a 325°F oven for about two hours, turning the vegetables about midway through the cooking. And that’s it! (If you have time, uncover the dishes, turn the oven up to 400°F, and cook everything for another 15 minutes to brown the vegetables lightly. But if you’re ready to eat, you can certainly just dig right in.) This dish is a classic example of the whole being far, far greater than the sum of its humble parts.
Tonight’s version includes arrowhead cabbage, Sunshine kabocha squash (from our friends at Waterpenny Farm in Rappahannock County, since our winter squash fared so poorly this year), and rutabagas. It, along with some gingerbread and whipped cream, will warm our bellies as we say our sad goodbyes to Shannon, who’s leaving us this week after two years on the Frog Bottom crew.
It’s also delicious with carrots (coming soon in the shares!) and onions. We often add garlic — keep the cloves whole and unpeeled, and everyone can squeeze their own garlic from the peels when they eat (it’s fun!). It’s very, very good with a poached egg on top. And chicken is a perfect addition — just tuck some legs or wings in among the vegetables. Or try it with sweet potatoes, beets, turnips…
Read the step-by-step instructions over at Orangette.