Saturday, March 20, 2010

Braised Root Vegetables with Lentils, Potato-Turnip Puree & Red Wine Sauce

Adapted from Local Flavors by Deborah Madison
Serves 4  

A while back, Ben and I learned the hard way that this is not a dish that lasts overnight.  Left-overs remain relatively tasty, but they’re nowhere near as good as when served right out of the pot.  The sulfury flavors of the onions and parsnips become a little too strong. So, help yourself to seconds, because you should enjoy the fleeting goodness of this dish while it lasts.


Red Wine Sauce:
1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms
about 1 Tbl extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
2 ribs celery, diced
mushroom stems (from below), diced
parsnip tips and cores (from below), diced
4 garlic cloves, smashed
2 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
2-inch sprig of rosemary
1 Tbl tomato paste
2 Tbl flour
2 cups red wine
1 Tbl soy sauce
1 Tbl butter (if you not cooking vegan)

Cover the dried porcini mushrooms with 1 quart of hot water and set aside.  Add the oil to a large pot and place over medium-high heat.  Add the onion, carrot, celery, mushroom stems, parsnip, garlic, thyme, bay & rosemary.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally at first, and more frequently later, until the vegetables are very thoroughly browned (but not burnt!), about 20-30 minutes. 

Add the tomato paste, stir to combine and cook about 1 minute.  Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables, stir to combine and cook about 1 minute longer.  Add the wine and simmer until the wine is reduced to nearly dry, scraping the bottom of the pan vigorously with a wooden spoon to bring up any browned bits.  Add the dried mushrooms and their soaking liquid.  Lower the heat, and simmer, covered, for about 45 minutes.  Strain.  You should have about 3 cups.  Return to a clean pan and simmer until reduced to about 2 1/2 cups, about 15-20 minutes.  Add the soy sauce.  Taste and season as needed with salt & pepper. 

The sauce can be made a day ahead and refrigerated overnight.  Before dinner, re-heat it in a small pot over low-medium heat.  Just before serving, whisk butter into hot sauce. 

Braised Root Vegetables:
about 24 red pearl onions
6 medium parsnips
6 medium carrots
about large cremini (baby portobello) mushrooms
2 Tbl butter plus 2 Tbl extra-virgin olive oil (if you’re not cooking vegan)
4 Tbl extra-virgin olive oil (if you are)
1 bay leaf
2 thyme sprigs
1 1/2 tsp minced rosemary
3 Tbl chopped parsley

Prep the pearl onions: Bring a medium pot a water to a boil and add the pearl onions.  Simmer about two minutes, then drain.  Slice just the barest amount off the tough root end, then using a paring knife, peel off the skin.  Set prepped onions aside.

Prep the parsnips: Peel the parsnips.  Trim off the top ends and discard.  Trim off the skinny tips and reserve for the sauce.  Cut the remaining parsnip into 3 segments of equal length.  Cut the thickest sections into quarters, and slice off the pithy core, reserving it for the sauce.  Quarter the mid section also. Cut the skinniest sections into halves.  Reserve.

Prep the carrots: Peel the carrots.  Trim off the top ends and discard.  Slice the carrots into lengths of 2-3 inches.  Cut the thicker sections into quarters and the thinner sections into halves.  Reserve.

Prep the mushrooms: Wipe each mushroom with a damp paper towel to remove any clinging dirt.  Slice off the stems just below the cap, and reserving them for the sauce.  Slice the caps into quarters.

Braise the vegetables: (I usually start this step about forty-five minutes before the guests arrive.) In a large pot, heat the oil and butter (if using) over medium heat.  Add the peeled pearl onions, season with salt and pepper, and cook for ten minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the carrots and cook ten minutes more, until the vegetables begin to slightly brown.  Add the parsnips and mushrooms and cook for 10 more minutes. 
(And I start up again here, just about 30 minutes before I want to serve dinner.) Add the bay leaf, thyme and minced rosemary and season again with salt and pepper.  Add 1 cup of the red wine sauce and 1 cup water.  Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until all the vegetables are tender, about 20-25 minutes.  Sprinkle with parsley and stir to combine.  Serve hot. 


French Lentils:
1/2 cup French green lentils
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbl butter (if you’re not cooking vegan)

Sort through the lentils and discard any wayward pebbles.  Rinse under cool water and drain.  Add lentils to a small sauce pot and cover with three cups of water.  Add the salt and simmer gently until tender, about 25 minutes.  Drain off the water, then stir in the butter (if using) and 1 cup of the red wine sauce.  Serve hot.  (I usually prepare these about an hour or two before guests arrive, and then reheat them over low-medium heat.)


Potato-Parsnip Puree:
1/2 # russet potatoes
1 1/2 # parsnips
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 Tbl sliced chives

Peel the potatoes and slice them into large chunks.  Place in a medium pot, cover with well-salted water and bring to a boil over high heat.  Boil until tender, then drain and reserve.  Follow the same steps with the parsnips.  It will probably take a little longer to cook the parsnips. 

Add the cooked potatoes, cooked parsnips and olive oil to a food processor and puree for about two minutes until very smooth.  Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.  Serve hot, sprinkled with sliced chives.  (I also prepare this about an hour or two before guests arrive, and then reheat it over low-medium heat.)




No comments:

Post a Comment