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All About Braising: Vegetable Recipe Reviews

October 2006 Cookbook of the Month: Please post your full-length reviews of vegetable recipes from Molly Stevens' All About Braising here. Please mention the name of the recipe you are reviewing as well as any modifications you made to the recipe. If this is a recipe you've done many times before but aren't cooking currently, consider adding a note to the All About Braising: Previous Picks and Pans thread: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

A reminder that the verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

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  1. Escarole braised with cannellini beans--this is definitely one of those dishes you have to plan ahead of time--soaking the beans for 8-10 hours, then simmering for 1-1.5 hours before the official braising even begins, but ultimately very easy. I do not have a lot of experience with dried beans, and have had sometimes gross mealy results, but I followed the directions faithfully, and ended up with lovely creamy beans, a nice contrast to the slight bitterness of the escarole.

    Here's the paraphrased recipe. It's so simple that I'm paraphrasing from memory:

    Basically, soak and then simmer 1 cup beans in 1 cup stock (more water if necessary to cover the beans) with a small quartered carrot, small quartered onion, bay leaf, 1T. olive oil, and 2 smashed garlic cloves. After simmering, salt and pepper to taste. Wash and trim escarole, cup in 1.5 in strips. Heat olive oil, 3 thinly sliced garlic cloves, pinch of dried chili flakes, and then wilt escarole one handful at a time. When escarole is wilted (and salted and peppered), add beans and simmering liquid, cover and simmer on low for 20 minutes. Squeeze half a lemon on it before serving, and drizzle with some olive oil.

    I wish I had made a roast as she recommends, but it was just me eating tonight, so I had some quick puttanesca pasta instead and ate the escarole/beans as an appetizer. Good thing I liked it--I have a lot left!

    7 Replies
    1. re: AppleSister

      I made this last night and would absolutely make it again. I did make one big change as I used chard instead of escarole as that was what I had. To make it possible for a weeknight I soaked and boiled the beans the day before, let cool and refrigerated them, Molly says the beans can be held this way up to two days.

      As AppleSister noted the beans get fabulously creamy, we served with grilled chicken and apple sausages for a simple weeknight meal. I agree it would be great with a roast.

      If we had any leftovers it would also make a nice lunch.

      1. re: llinza

        I routinely make this with Belgian endives (and canned beans) - it's not as colorful as a greener green, but the flavors work very well, and I prefer the texture to that of escarole.

      2. re: AppleSister

        I made this last night and it was great. I had a head of escarole but I think it was smaller than called for. Instead of cannellini beans, I subbed in one 15 oz can of garbanzo beans. I also threw in more than a pinch of red pepper flakes. This was delicious and the two of us ate the entire dish.


        1. re: AppleSister

          Escarole Braised with Cannellini Beans, Pg. 55

          We made this dish last night and loved it. Made the canned bean variation and added a few bumps of my own. First we rendered about 6 slices of home made cured bacon (from the farm) which I sliced into 1/2 " pieces. Removed the bacon from the skillet and added 1 diced red onion and 2 finely diced carrots. Next came the chopped garlic. We then proceeded with the recipe as Applesister reported but when the escarole was nearly done we added about 1 1/2 cups of left over steamed brown rice, the rendered bacon, and more broth and let that mix and heat up. A drizzle of Cocevola Terre Di Bari Extra Virgin Olive Oil on the plates finished off the dish. I think a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmigiano or the robust Romano would be a nice touch. Next time. There's not a drop left. Darn it.

          1. re: Gio

            That sounds like a perfect autumn meal, esp with the brown rice addition. Brown rice's healthiness cancels out bacon's unhealthiness, IMO

        2. End of Summer Green Beans Braised with Tomatoes (p. 43)

          This is a very simple braise flavored with garlic, anchovies, and dried oregano. Sliced garlic is sauteed until golden in olive oil. Add minced anchovies and dried oregano, stir until anchovies melt into the oil, add beans and chopped fresh tomatoes, salt and pepper. Add water (I used chicken stock), cover and braise for about an hour. Very good. I liked the subtle flavor of the oregano and anchovies, though my husband said he preferred the green beans I made last month from "Essentials" (Hazan).



          3 Replies
          1. re: Rubee

            I really liked this last night and really enjoyed it. I used fresh oregano and home grown tomatoes. I probably had more than the 1.5 cups than the recipe called for but it worked out fine. Also, mine did come out very saucy at the end so I boiled away the extra liquid. I also loved the subtle flavor of the anchovies and oregeno with the beans.


            I served this with the chengdu braised pork with daikon radish. They didn't really go together but I wanted to make both. It just meant not mixing the food up, which was ok.

            1. re: Rubee

              I just made this yesterday, even though I really like crisp, bright green beans, and was a little disappointed at first, but then couldn't stop eating them.

              1. re: Rubee

                I have made this several time and I love it. It reheats really well, so when I have a lot of fresh vegetables to eat, I make this and eat it on another day. I also often use extra tomatoes just because I love tomatoes.

              2. Peppery Braised Broccoli Rabe with Arugula (p. 51)

                I loved this recipe. Easy, quick and absolutely delicious.

                Stir fry the rabe (about a lb) for a few minutes. Add onion (half a medium one), garlic, (3 cloves slivered) red pepper flakes (generous pinch, probably about 1t) and salt. Add chicken stock (1/2 cup) and simmer for about 20 minutes (with the lid on). When the stalks are tender, add the arugula (4-5 oz) and simmer for about 20 minutes until the liquid has evaporated.

                I followed the recipe pretty closely. I probably added more hot pepper flakes and more arugula than was stated in the book since I prefer my dishes with extra bite.

                Picture of veggies in the pot:


                I made this ahead of time so I ate it lukewarm. It was still delicious. I served this with braised chicken thighs with soy sauce and white rice.


                This is the first time I've posted pictures, so I hope it works.

                3 Replies
                1. re: beetlebug

                  Yum - That meal looks delicious!

                  1. re: beetlebug

                    I made this last night, it was a good quick weeknight side. The only issue I had was that the broccoli rabe ended up being overcooked - I think I had the heat turned up a tad to high, next time I will watch that very closely.

                    I used baby the arugula and doubled the amount. Since the arugula was so tender I added it at the very end and tossed just enough to wilt slightly but keep its brilliant green.

                    This was a nice side for skirt steak but I think it would compliment almost anything.

                    1. re: beetlebug

                      Oh yum. The greens in the pot...the whole thing...

                    2. Cauliflower, Potatoes & Peas Indian-Style

                      Thank you redwood2bay. The Cookbook of the Month idea has encouraged me to make recipes I’ve always wanted to try but never got around to and to try recipes I probably would not have without the impetus of these threads.

                      Tonight I wanted a fairly simple vegetarian dinner but had the time both to shop and prepare. I followed the recipe as written, although I probably added more peas than called for. I also used a Serrano chile with all the seeds. I like spicy, but this wasn’t by any means overpoweringly so.

                      It was terrific. There was no sauce; you cook it away, as she says in the recipe. But it was wonderfully flavorful and very satisfying. I served it over basmati rice as suggested. The recipe worked exactly as written. I wouldn’t change a thing.

                      Although a wonderful meal all by itself, I’m sure it would be a great accompaniment to a simply roasted chicken or grilled chicken breasts. Very definitely something I’d do again.



                      7 Replies
                      1. re: JoanN

                        Wow - does that look good. I'll have to make that this month!

                        1. re: JoanN

                          That looks really yummy! JoanN, I think you're inspiring several of us to try this dish (I'd already marked it as a possible-- now I think it'll be a probable). Thanks for posting your review and photo.

                          1. re: JoanN

                            I just made this dish tonight, and I'm curious to know what others thought of the use of whole coriander and cumin seeds. I have to say this is the first thing I've made from ABB that was not absolutely satisfactory. The whole seeds were just too intense when they got crunched between my teeth, and the flavor just wasn't as complex as a similar recipe I've used from Madhur Jaffrey, though with more spices and the usual onion-garlic-ginger paste.

                            1. re: AppleSister

                              I can't speak to this recipe, but I really love whole cumin seeds in a dish. A lot.

                              1. re: AppleSister

                                I wasn't even aware of the seeds as a separate entity. Guess I just like coriander and cumin.

                                1. re: JoanN

                                  Whole spices are often used in indian recipes. I put whole cumin seeds in all kinds of stuff...best to toast them a bit first, but in any case, they are not too tough or fibrous to be pleasant to eat, and you get such a nice punch of cumin flavor when you bite into them.

                                  1. re: prunefeet

                                    I actually liked the whole cumin seeds, it was the whole coriander seeds that were a bit much. I guess I could always grind them myself next time.

                            2. Braised Potatoes with Butter and Rosemary (p. 40)

                              This is the first recipe in the book. This simple method packs so much flavor into the potatoes - definitely will make these again. Small potatoes are put into a saute pan with enough stock to come half-way up the sides. Add butter, rosemary sprigs, and smashed garlic cloves. Cover and braise for about 20 minutes. Remove lid and boil liquid away. The homemade chicken stock really contributes to the caramelized buttery glaze left on the potatoes. Delicious! Easy too.


                              9 Replies
                              1. re: Rubee

                                I also made this and loved it. I used olive oil and rosemary. My potatoes were a little bigger so I halved them. It was harder to find a pot that accomodated them so a couple of the potatoes rested on top. The coolest thing was when you boiled the liquid away, the oil really does crisp up the potatoes. Sooooo good. And so good for you ;-)

                                Pictures of potato in pot (The pot is a disaster. It's still soaking)


                                Picture of meal (served with pork with hot cherry peppers



                                1. re: beetlebug

                                  I made the braised potatoes w/ garlic and bay leaves, and as already stated, they were delicious and easy. I like how braising cooks them more quickly than roasting, and how they were nicely creamy w/ some light caramelization once the liquid was reduced. I opted for water instead of stock and found them plenty flavorful; don't think they really need stock. I did notice that some good bits of flavor got stuck on the bottom of the pan, which I was happy to scrape up and nibble on after the meal.

                                  1. re: Carb Lover

                                    Yeah - I made these Sunday and I found most of the glaze stayed in the pan. The potatoes that did have glaze were tasty. But I didn't love these. I actually really like plain boiled "new" potatoes and these did not convince me not to stick with plain in the future. But I'll probably try them again because they were very easy.

                                    1. re: Carb Lover

                                      I made these tonight with halved red potatoes, and although the flavour was really good, they broke up a lot in the pan which was disappointing. I think I may have added too much liquid, and next time I would buy smaller potatoes and leave them whole, which would hopefully solve the problem. They were really infused with the flavour of the garlic and bay though.

                                  2. re: Rubee

                                    Braised Potatoes with Garlic & Bay Leaves, p. 40

                                    I made these with large French fingerlings that I cut into chunks, which worked fine (i.e., they didn't break apart). I added too much stock, though, so when the potatoes were tender and I took the cover off, I decided it would take too long to evaporate the extra liquid, not to mention being a waste of such nice stock. So I poured most of it off, but that also means I poured off some of the oil. The result was that I didn't really get much frying action, though I still got a great glaze that stuck to the potatoes, very tasty. (Plus I had a bonus bit of stock left for the next day's cooking.)

                                    1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                      I have made a recipe from Fine Cooking for skillet roasted potatoes which I think is like the AAB recipe for Braised Potatoes. It is great. The stock absorbs into the potatoes and they are very flavorful and creamy almost, with a nice crusty outside. Sometimes I like to make a big batch of these to have leftovers for the week. Very good.

                                      1. re: karykat

                                        This is the method used for Pommes de Terre à l'Echirlète in Elizabeth David's French Country Cooking - she says it's used in the Perigord. It's a delicious way to cook potatoes. Here's my report from that COTM:

                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                          The Fine Cooking article mentions that a traditional version of its recipe says to peel the potatoes into ovals. Which FC doesn't to save time and for texture. Kind of interesting.

                                          1. re: karykat

                                            I used Yukon golds about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and just left them whole and unpeeled. They were delicious cooked in the stock and then crisped up.

                                  3. Braised Endive with Prosciutto (p. 56)

                                    This one is a real keeper -- luscious, silky, rich, luxurious -- and easy. The only change I made was it took quite a bit longer at each stage than the directions said. She suggests serving with eggs fried in olive oil and drizzled with a little reduced sherry vinegar. I did but wouldn't again -- the eggs were too rich somehow, not enough of a contrast. I think this would be perfect with leftover roast chicken or broiled halibut or something fairly lean and simple like that.

                                    Here's a link to an adaptation of the recipe (scroll down a bit). http://orangette.blogspot.com/2006/01...

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: GretchenS

                                      Braised Endive with Prosciutto, Pg. 56

                                      This a tasty rendition of the classic braised endive dish and we liked it very much. I halved the recipe (3 whole endives) and subbed 1/2 & 1/2 for heavy cream but otherwise followed the recipe as written.

                                      After cleaning and trimming the endives they are sliced lengthwise into halves. Using a skillet (cast iron) the endives are browned in butter on both sides then placed into a buttered baking dish cut side up. (I used a 9"sq. enameled cast iron) Prosciutto slices are cut into 1" strips, added to the skillet, turned in the butter then taken out and tucked between and on top of the endive. Stock is next added to the skillet, brought to the boil..scraping up the fond... and poured over the endive and prosciutto.

                                      The dish is covered tightly with foil and set into a 375F oven to braise for about 30 - 35 min. The next step is to remove the baking dish from the oven and uncover. Spoon the braising liquid over the endive, pour the cream over, and bake till the cream looks like caramel and the sauce has thickened, about 6-ish minutes.

                                      I give this dish a very large YUM....the usual bitterness of endive, which I love, seemed to have disappeared and a sweet, nutty flavor was evident instead. As GretchenS said when she made it, "luscious, silky, rich, luxurious." I served it with Pollock roasted in the Tuscan way - with a spicy tomato sauce. Loverly!

                                    2. I want to make the braised cauliflower with capers and breadcrumbs but would prefer to leave out the bread. Is it integral to the dish or would it make much difference?

                                      Link to recipe here --> http://www.denverpost.com/recipes/ci_...

                                      If so, I'll try the braised cabbage instead. Yum!

                                      1. I feel bad that I am still a lurker in this project because we are travelling so much this month (plus my Braise book didn't arrive from Amazon yet). Really enjoying the posts and promise to participate next month.

                                        1. Well, crap. I just tested the braised cabbage after two hours and it's still not as tender as I'd like. I put it back in for another 30 minutes. I read somewhere else that the suggested timings are a little short. I hope that's it, and not the fact that I ran out of tinfoil and so had to cobble various scraps together (I save foil like my mom) and the resulting cover wasn't too tight. It sure smells good, I just want to eat it .... NOW!

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: yumyum

                                            Mine is in the oven as well. Another 10 minutes to go. And I, too, am hungry. Let's compare notes.

                                            1. re: JoanN

                                              Joan -- is yours saucy? Because mine doesn't have as much liquid as I normally associate with braising. I've nibbled on a little bit and it's yummy -- probably needs more salt, I'm pretty cautious, especially as she recommends fleur de sel at the end. I *love* a chance to really showcase a specialty salt. (Man, I sound like a real food nerd.)

                                            2. re: yumyum

                                              Never fear. The 15 mins of browning the veg at 400 ended up softening everything to the melty-ness I was hoping for. This is a good recipe -- I have a feeling as she says on her website it's going to be even better tomorrow. I actually made this as a side to take to friends tomorrow night but I might keep it all for myself and take something else. Piggy!

                                              1. re: yumyum

                                                It seems I just like having this conversation with myself, but the more I eat this the better I like it. The onions -- especially those which have carmelized darkly (note to self, brown everything a few minutes longer ... the darker the better) are absolutely delicious and the carrots are really good too. Okay, I get it. Now I'm going to go and enjoy the rest of my plate with a glass of wine. Joan, report back!

                                            3. World’s Best Braised Green Cabbage

                                              Wow! Just wow!

                                              She says it’s better the next day, so I thought vegetarian dinner tonight, accompaniment tomorrow or the next. Recipe serves 6? I’ve already eaten half by myself and it’s only real force of will that I’m getting the next three servings into the fridge.

                                              Followed recipe as written. Didn’t have the problem yumyum did with it needing more time during the initial braising. I wonder if it has to do with the size of the cabbage, The smallest I could find was about 4 pounds, so I cut it in half, put half away, and cut the remaining half into eighths. Maybe my wedges were thinner? I also added more crushed red pepper than I should have, just because I usually do. My fault. A lighter touch would have been better here. It doesn’t need the extra spicy.

                                              No, yumyum. Not particularly saucy. But it’s so luscious it doesn’t need any extra sauce. Just about perfect as is. Had some sel gris on hand and finished half with, half without. Lovely touch, but not at all necessary.

                                              I think it would be an outstanding accompaniment to a roast meat. Have the ingredients on hand for the Short Ribs Braised in Porter Ale, but I don’t think the cabbage is going to last that long.

                                              Photo of the cabbage just as it came out of the oven:

                                              26 Replies
                                              1. re: JoanN

                                                Yay us! I am relieved to see you did yours in a metal pan too -- I feared that I'd burn it this way. Mine got a little browner than yours, and I'd probably go a shade or two browner still -- the carrots and onions have begun to carmelize and add a sweet depth to the cabbage. And yes, your wedges seem to be thinner than mine. I weighed the cabbage per her instructions, and it was just under 3 pounds. Once I removed the core and outer leaves it was probably a little over 2 lbs, so that would explain my longer cooking time.

                                                I like it with the coarse salt on top.

                                                1. re: yumyum

                                                  A bit browner would be good. I think if I'd just turned the pan halfway through that would have been sufficient. But another 5 minutes certainly wouldn't have hurt. You're absolutely right about the sweetness. I was almost surprised. Great dish, isn't it? It will definitely go into my rotation.

                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                    Yep -- I rotated my pan a few times during the cooking time (my oven's not always even). Thanks for cooking along with me.

                                                    1. re: yumyum

                                                      What fun! It was like having a buddy in the kitchen. What're we gonna do next, yumyum?

                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                        Thanks guys. It was fun reading the end result. I will probably try this next week.

                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                          Thanks for this fun interchange; it was like you were cooking together. I need to get my act together to start braising this weekend!!! Weather here is just right for it...

                                                  2. re: JoanN

                                                    I just had this and, wow may not do it justice. It was delicious and strangely addictive. I kept snacking on the leaves as I was waiting for the chicken to cook.

                                                    I followed the recipe as written. The cabbage head was a hair over two lbs and the timing in the book was spot on. It also smelled great while it was braising. Easy and tasty. It's a keeper.


                                                    1. re: beetlebug

                                                      That photo is to die for! You made me want to do it all over again. Soon.

                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                        Funny, when I woke up this am, I was thinking about this recipe. And the beautiful simplicity of it. DH asked how I made it, and I summarized it in 4 steps:

                                                        Cut up cabbage, carrot and onion
                                                        sprinkle with salt, pepper and hot pepper flakes
                                                        add chicken broth

                                                        He was shocked that it was that simple. This is definitely a recipe that is better as a whole than the sum of its parts (is that the right phrase?)

                                                        There is no way this recipe feeds 6. It's actually perfect for 4. 2 wedges for each person. The only reason we 2 had leftovers is because I wanted to have some with the leftover chicken. A rare instance of will power to not consume.

                                                        1. re: beetlebug

                                                          I agree B this is one of those recipes that is much better than the sum of its parts. I've made cabbage for years---many, many dif. ways and this is by far the best. Is very easy, but it does take time. Recipe is for 4,or 2 if you love veggies and pig out. Haven't had the leftovers yet, but will have today. This will be the only way I make cabbage in the winter from now on!

                                                          1. re: beetlebug

                                                            I just made this again, and it's still fabulous. I made some modifications. Instead of chicken broth, I used the leftover braising liquid from the braised bacon. OMG, it imparted this smoky flavor onto the cabbage and it tastes slightly different than my first version. I also chopped up baby carrots v. a whole carrot. Not a huge variation, but there are more carrots then the recipe calls for. I like the contrast of the sweetness of the carrots to the cabbage flavor.

                                                            I've been snacking on it. It's half gone. Unfortunately, DH isn't home yet, so I arranged it in a smaller bowl so it won't look so obvious. must stop eating...

                                                        2. re: beetlebug

                                                          Beautiful picture. Thanks for posting!

                                                          1. re: beetlebug

                                                            I know this thread is old and your post was back in 2006, but I've been searching for cabbage recipes and found this thread. Your picture has inspired me to make this braised cabbage, it looks better than fantastic and I'm a huge cabbage lover!! I have everything but the carrots, I've got to remember to pick a couple up tomorrow.

                                                            1. re: CarrieSeas

                                                              You have a treat in store for you. You don't even have to like cabbage to love this recipe. It's a great one.

                                                              1. re: JoanN

                                                                Treat is an understatement, wow!! I followed the recipe almost to a "T." The only thing I did different was add strips of bacon (5) across the top before baking. The cabbage was tender, as were the carrots and onions, and the aroma was heavenly. Before serving, I did a quick grate of Parm over the top, yummy! This dish with baked chicken and mashed potatoes was simply delicious. I will do a couple of things different next time; I will add more carrots and onions and I will cook the bacon first and pour the drippings over the dish before putting in the oven. When it comes out of the oven, I will top with crumbled bacon and the freshly grated Parm. I'm thinking a few sprigs of fresh thyme would also be good. When my son came in from work he said "OMG, mom, what are you cooking?" There was one wedge left and I thought it was all mine, until my daughter stopped by, she scarfed it right up. She then asked me if I would make a dish of this for her and SIL. This would also be so good as a side for roast beef, pork chops/tenderloin, oh heck, it would make a good side for almost anything. I am one happy camper with this dish!

                                                                1. re: CarrieSeas

                                                                  I just saw your post and thought your bacon idea was just brilliant. For future reference, I usually add more carrots then called for. I've also used plain water instead of chicken stock. Both lead to outstanding results.

                                                                  I have found though, that if the cabbage head is much larger then the two pounds, the results aren't as stellar. I don't like going under 2 lbs because I find that the dish is too small. It's a fine line.

                                                                  It is sheer torture waiting for the cabbage to be finished. The aromas emanating from the oven make me want to chew my arm off while waiting.

                                                                  1. re: beetlebug

                                                                    Why, TY! Bacon makes everything better, lol. Another, LOL, yes, the aromas will make you want to chew your arm off!

                                                                    I made this dish again yesterday as a side to the Chicken Bog I made. It was the perfect meal for the rainy day we had here yesterday.

                                                                    I'm a new "hound" and am loving all the new ideas and dishes I'm reading about on this site. There are so many recipes I want to try!

                                                          2. re: JoanN

                                                            So I finally tried this dish, and while it is yummy, I guess my expectations were a little high from all the previous posts-- I was a little disappointed. The texture was great, but I usually saute cabbage with a little bacon grease, and I have to admit I missed the smoky taste of the bacon. Next time, I might try adding a little bit. I did appreciate how easy this dish is, especially if you have kids running around.

                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                              I made this today and plan to eat tomorrow.
                                                              What's the reheat plan? Just a little oven time?

                                                              1. re: rcburli

                                                                Frankly, I just pop leftovers in the microwave for a minute or two. Or are you talking about the whole dish, not just leftovers? I'm sure you could reheat it in the oven. I'd bring it to room temp for about an hour or so. Are you finishing the dish tonight? Including that last 15 minutes with the cover off? If I were doing it tonight to serve tomorrow (which I've never done), I think I'd cook it up until the last 15 minutes, refrigerate overnight, bring it to room temp, reheat covered, and then cook for the final 15 minutes uncovered.

                                                              2. re: JoanN

                                                                I made this tonight and mine never got to the really meltingly tender stage, despite braising for longer than stated. I used a very fresh green cabbage that's not the same as the one in the picture in the book, which I would say was white cabbage?? Anyway, really enjoyed it and it is strangely addictive, as others have said. I ate a whole wedge while waiting for my chicken to roast!

                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                  Size of the cabbage really makes a difference in how "melting" the wedges get. I think Stevens states that the whole cabbage should be no more than 2 lbs.

                                                                  The cabbage that I've used is green cabbage - the kind you make cole slaw with.

                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                      The bright green one withe ruffly leaves in your linked photo is what's known here as Savoy cabbage, from the looks of it. Pretty much interchangeable with the "white" green cabbage with the tighter leaves, but I like it better.

                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                        It wasn't a Savoy - we have those too and the leaves are more crinkly.

                                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                          This is a savoy cabbage: http://www.istockphoto.com/file_thumb...

                                                                          I think the color may be just a function of the season it's grown in and/or the weather. I've seen those looser leafed, darker green cabbages on ocassion here - usually in spring. They look like this: http://www.vegetablesgrowing.com/imag...

                                                                          More often, the "green" cabbage in stores is fairly pale in color with very tight, waxy leaves, like this: http://www.recipetips.com/kitchen/ima...

                                                                2. Well, we tried the braised cabbage hoping it would change our minds about warm cabbage (we love cold cabbage slaws) but I have to say it wasn't great.

                                                                  Next time I'm going to try a braising dish using beef.

                                                                  1. Don't forget fennel or "finok" as the Italians in Philadelphia call it. Just braise it slowly in a litte really good rich chicken stock and a few drops of olive oil until most of it is soft; differences in texture between the smaller and thicker parts is OK and sometimes desirable. (Substitute celery if you don't have the finnoccio or fennel.) Serve as a vegetable with freshly grated parmesan cheese and maybe some ground pepper if you like. Simple, and great. Appreciate feedback if you try it.

                                                                    1. At the risk of hogging this entire thread, I'm coming back to report that the World’s Best Braised Green Cabbage was still terrific the second time around. Better? I'm not absolutely certain about that. But if not, certainly just as good. In other words, a perfect do-the-day-before recipe.

                                                                      Had it tonight with braised pork chops, but I didn't use a recipe from the book. The recipes sound very good, but something about the pale color of the results just doesn't appeal to me, so I stuck with my tried and true.


                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                                        What a picture - I just ate dinner and you made me hungry again! I love the braised cabbage, one of my favorite recipes in the book, though I always add a couple of Tb of butter ;)

                                                                        1. re: Rubee

                                                                          Here's another world's best cabbage pic. Needless to say, ditto x 100 to all the previous praises

                                                                          1. re: yamalam

                                                                            I made this tonight and found it to be totally "meh." I don't know what went wrong. As I was eating, I kept thinking how much better it would taste with some corned beef or even kielbasa thrown in. I followed this recipe: http://www.ajc.com/eveningedge/conten...

                                                                            I used high quality olive oil, homemade chicken broth, and even added a little sliced shallot and juniper berries. It was just *really* bland, even with lots of salt and pepper. And for some reason, the centers of the wedges seemed really starchy. Maybe it needed to cook longer; I can't figure it out.

                                                                            Bleh, what a disappointment.

                                                                          2. re: Rubee

                                                                            World’s Best Braised Green Cabbage

                                                                            Oh, that's disapponting Christina. Maybe cook it down a little more? Sometimes, I find it takes a little longer and I cook it until it's really braised and tender.

                                                                            I love how sweet the carrots and cabbage get and make this often. The latest batch was last night. It was a 3-pound head of cabbage which I cut into wedges, and what didn't fit in the pan I used for a Dunlop stir-fry.

                                                                            I like to butter the pan with 1-2 Tb of butter, and I also usually add a bit more chicken stock if I'm using a larger head of cabbage, which I did last night (about 1/2 cup instead of 1/4); also, two carrots instead of one. Otherwise, timing stayed the same.

                                                                        2. Braised leeks with bacon and thyme.
                                                                          Made it last night. Mmmmm. The leeks get soothingly tender, and the bacon provides a subtle but very nice note. Not overly fussy or complicated, and I would make again if my CSA farmer sends some leeks my way again.

                                                                          I made it pretty much by the book, though I only had two (good size) leeks, so I halved the bacon. One leek per person is fine (though you won't have any left to make the next recipe -- braised leek & bacon in a tart)
                                                                          Basically, you fry the bacon pieces, split and clean the leeks, and put into gratin dish w/ garlic, S&P, thyme and nutmeg. The bacon is drained and sits aside to join the leeks at a later time.
                                                                          After removing some bacon fat, you deglaze the pan w/ chicken stock, and put onto leeks, cover and bake. They bake for one hour pretty much on their own, so it frees you to make the rest of the meal. Turn twice during the 1 hr bake, adding bacon 15 mins before done.
                                                                          Since I view leeks and cream as natural partners in the food world, I did the gratin variation -- adding heavy cream near the end, and then topping w/ parmesan and running under the broiler. (this also gives the cook some leeway with timing, since you can let the gratin/braise sit while you finish up, and then pop under the broiler when you're ready.

                                                                          And I did not chop any &*$%# tiny thyme leaves! That drives me nuts! Instead, I tucked in a few fresh thyme sprigs, which in my book, works fine 'cause it all falls away as it bakes, assuming you don't have a husband who views it as some sort of culinary insult to remove a thyme stem or two from one's plate.

                                                                          I served w/ roasted salmon w/ compound butter, and barley pilaf w/ peppers and onions (using up my frozen container of chicken stock). A very nice fall meal, indeed.

                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                          1. re: NYchowcook

                                                                            Braised leeks with Bacon and Thyme (p. 86)

                                                                            I also made this tonight, as a side dish to accompany the Veal with Raisins, Almonds, and Sweet Marsala on p. 307. Like NYchowcook, I did the gratin variation wtih a little cream and some fresh grated parm. Looking forward to using the leftovers to make the tart this week!


                                                                            1. re: Rubee

                                                                              I made the non-gratin version. I loved how tender the leeks became, but I think a little time under the broiler would have given them a nice crust, so next time I'll make the gratin version like everyone else. As NYChowcook said, they're a great vegetable to make with an invovled main dish, as you get to almost ignore them after you put them in the oven. The only issue I had was that there was no possible way that I could fit the number of leeks in the recipe into one layer in a 9x13 dish, so a couple got left out. Next stop: leftovers in the tart.

                                                                              1. re: BKchompchomp

                                                                                I did this last night - the leeks were amazingly tender and delicious. I actually think they didn't need as much time as in the recipe - maybe US leeks are bigger like everything else seems to be in America! Next time I would probably skip the bacon and just go for the pure flavour of the leeks on their own.

                                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                  The bacon is a must for me. It adds a nice smoky flavour to the dish and is a nice compliment to the smooth leek's texture.

                                                                            2. re: NYchowcook

                                                                              Braised leeks with Bacon and Thyme (p. 86)

                                                                              I made the gratin variation last night. I had no fresh thyme and used fresh sage. Served the leeks as a side dish to Filet Mignon. The sauce and bacon went wonderfully with the beef. My guests thought it was a gourmet meal yet it was so easy to prepare. First time braising vegetables of any kind.

                                                                              1. re: NYchowcook

                                                                                I' made this recently sans the bacon since the family and I are attempting a 100 mile challenge. Anyway, it's pretty amazing. Didn't strip the thyme stems just through them in whole as well. I did the gratin version w/o the parmesan. i think this is a pretty flexible, easy recipe. the hardest part is probably prepping the leeks. Highly recommend this one and can't wait to try it with bacon.

                                                                                1. re: NYchowcook

                                                                                  Just stem the thyme leaves. No need to chop.

                                                                                2. Peperonata:
                                                                                  Had lots of yellow and orange peppers in my garden, so I made this dish. Followed recipe except I peeled the peppers. It's o-k, but for all the work involved and just 0-k result, I wouldn't make this again.
                                                                                  Stopped at my farmers stand yesterday and bought a field fresh head of cabbage and will try the Worlds Best Braised cabbage tonite. All your great posts re this recipe make me have to cook it!

                                                                                  1. Braised Cauliflower with Capers and Toasted Bread Crumbs (pg. 84)

                                                                                    The cauliflower turned out great. Wonderful flavor and a short braising time. I used panko bread crumbs and did not toast them so it shortened up the recipe. Summary of the recipe: trim and cut up the cauliflower into florets. Brown with butter and evoo until the florets are browned. Add capers and cook for another minute. Pour chicken stock, add S&P, cover and braise. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes until the florets are tender.

                                                                                    I tossed the cauliflower with the pasta (variation at the end of the recipe). I used a lb of pasta v. the 3/4 lbs. (pet peeve, why do cookbooks and recipes always use 3/4 lbs when the box is always a lb?). This is where I went wrong. Too much pasta and not enough veggies. It also needs a little color. The dish is too brown. But the capers with the cauliflower were really good with the pasta.

                                                                                    After I added the pasta, I put inthe breadcrumbs, some pasta cooking liquid, lemon juice, parmesian cheese and parsley.

                                                                                    Here is the finished product. I forgot to take the picture of the cauliflower alone.


                                                                                    Overall, I really liked it, I would definitely make this again, with or without the pasta. When I make the pasta dish again, I would use more capers and a bigger head of cauliflower.

                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                      I nuked the pasta and cauliflower for a late lunch today. It had even more flavor today. The braising liquids totally got soaked into the pasta. The bread crumbs were a little soggier though but it didn't really bother me.

                                                                                      1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                        That looked great!! Thanks to the Devner post, I made this recipe along with the Halibut and Braised Leeks...


                                                                                        Both were just PERFECT for a weekday dinner because one is in the oven, one is not, there is very little prep time (especially when you have help! :)) and the braising time is minimal.

                                                                                        As for the Cauliflower, was a bit intrigued by the browning, I have NEVER done that before and It really did make a huge difference in taste.

                                                                                        It cooked up pretty much as the recipe said it would. Using a Le Crueset, I didn't even need to add more water (I think this book should be MUST reading for buying a le crueset!!).

                                                                                        The thing about the breadcrumbs though, I admit I didn't read the recipe all the way through and that I used contadina breadcrumbs... I EXPECTED this dish to be finished in the oven for a crunchy bread crumb crust. But instead the crumbs were just stirred in at the end, which lead to VERY little crunch. in the future, I'll omit the crumbs... But here' how it looks...


                                                                                        As for the flavor, It was SO sweet, one of the best cauliflower's I've had... Although I do have to wonder, this cauliflower came from the Farmers Market, so that also my have something to do with it.

                                                                                        Anyway, a great recipe... check the fish post for a report on the Halibut and Leeks and a picture of the meal! :)

                                                                                        1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                          I made the Braised Cauliflower with Capers and Toasted Bread Crumbs last night to go with some turkey sausages. I feel it is a little unfair to be reviewing it, because I was having oen of those days - the bear was definitely eating me. I used panko instead of toasted bread crumbs, and really wished I'd taken the extra time to do the bread crumbs - I felt the panko didn't add enough crunch, but this could be because of excess time getting it to the table (husband and child not really cooperating). I liked it, but not as much as I'd imagined I would. Maybe the sausages were just so flavorful that they overwhelmed this? It all got eaten very happily by everyone, I was just expecting a bit more. But again, it wasn't my best ever day, and I think negativity may have been trying to take over. No photo (again with the problems getting people to the table).

                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                            Braised Cauliflower with Capers and Toasted Bread Crumbs, Pg. 84

                                                                                            We made this last night and considering all the other reports I'll just add my approbation. I basically followed the recipe but didn't use breadcrumbs, used thinly sliced basil leaves instead of chopped parsley and used the variation recommendation with Penne. I was dying to start off with rendered pancetta and red pepper flakes but resisted the temptation. It was a nice satisfying and filling dish even so.

                                                                                          2. re: beetlebug

                                                                                            I made this over the weekend (penne pasta variation) with so many changes that it's almost unfair to report on it. I used all olive oil because I'm on a no dairy diet. I skipped the bread crumbs. I added some black olives and garlic along with the capers. And for braising liquid I used a combo of leftover tomato sauce and chopped Pomi tomatoes. So in the end it was more of a cauliflower puttanesca. It was absolutely delicious - the best cauliflower pasta I've ever made. It was a farmers market cauliflower, so that helped. But I think the brown and braise treatment is brilliant. All the intensity of roasting but in a sauce.

                                                                                            1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                              Braised Cauliflower with Capers and Toasted Bread Crumbs (pg. 84)
                                                                                              Made this with and without pasta. I left out the bread crumbs the second time and liked it that way as well.
                                                                                              I thought it was great when the crumbs were added at the end and were crisp - really liked the texture as well as taste, but ok soggy.

                                                                                              1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                Braised Cauliflower with Capers and Toasted Breadcrumbs, p. 84.

                                                                                                Made this last night as a side to some seafood. It is indeed a very flavorful dish and easy to make. Love what the juice of 1/2 lemon does to brighten the flavor.

                                                                                                As always, Stevens' directions are detailed and following them ensures success. I particularly like the precise trimming directions for the cauliflower, which direct the cook to cut into individual florets about 1.5 inches long (and wide.) Most cookbooks just say "cut into florets" but Stevens' timing of the braise works perfectly with this size of florets. Guess I just appreciate her accuracy of description.

                                                                                                Anyway, the other posters have described the method and results well. I would just add the following minor details: Stevens' recommends water as a braising-liquid to accompany seafood but I used chicken broth to braise the cauliflower because my scallop-dish was full-lavored, and I felt this was a good idea. Also, the recipe can be partially made ahead: I browned the cauliflower and stirred in the capers and then completed the braising about two hours later. Finally, I did make my own rather coarse fresh breadcrumbs and toasted them, and I really liked the crunch they gave to the completed dish.

                                                                                              2. the world's best braised green cabbage was delicious! i served it tonight with roasted potatoes and baked beans. yummy, comforting meal for a lazy sunday....

                                                                                                1. I encouraged chowmom to make the cabbage too -- during the last hour of cooking she threw in some kielbasa as she wanted a one-dish meal to take to friends. Said it was absolutely delicious even though it was a "Healthy Choice" sausage.

                                                                                                  I find the leftovers to be better heated in the oven, as recommended, than on the stovetop. Keeps the crispy/browned bits crispier.

                                                                                                  Now I gotta do something with this cauliflower.

                                                                                                  1. Fennel Braised with thyme and black olives (p. 67)

                                                                                                    Looks like I'm the first to review this one. I'm a bonafide fennel fiend so was happy to see that Molly recommends this dish to accompany her milk braised pork. See report for pork here:

                                                                                                    Here's the recipe paraphrased:
                                                                                                    Serves 6

                                                                                                    3 large or 4 med. fennel bulbs (about 3 lbs.
                                                                                                    )3 TB EVOO
                                                                                                    coarse salt and black pepper
                                                                                                    1/2 c. pitted oil-cured olives like Nyons or Moroccan
                                                                                                    2 garlic cloves, minced
                                                                                                    5-6 anchovy fillets, minced
                                                                                                    1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
                                                                                                    1/2 tsp. fennel seeds, toasted and lightly crushed
                                                                                                    1/2 tsp. coriander seeds, toasted and lightly crushed
                                                                                                    1/3 c. dry white wine or dry white vermouth
                                                                                                    3/4 c. chicken stock

                                                                                                    Heat oven to 325F. Trim off fennel fronds and quarter the bulbs, leaving the core intact. Heat 2 TB oil in skillet over med. high and brown the flat sides of the fennel quarters making sure not to overcrowd pan. Remove from pan and place cut side up into gratin dish. Season w/ S&P and scatter on olives.

                                                                                                    Combine garlic, anchovies, thyme, fennel seeds, and coriander in small pan and bruise against pan w/ a spoon to create a rough paste. Add wine, bring to boil and reduce by half, about 2 min. Add stock and simmer.

                                                                                                    Pour liquid over fennel, cover w/ foil, and braise in middle of oven til tender, about 1.25 hrs. For serving, chop any reserved feathery tops and sprinkle on about 2 TB. Serve warm or at room temp.


                                                                                                    I'm not the kind of cook who likes to buy special ingredients just for a weeknight dinner so I made do w/ what I had on hand. Didn't have anchovies or coriander seeds, so I subbed in a little fish sauce and fresh cilantro. I also didn't see the point about dirtying a gratin dish, so I braised in the same skillet that I browned in.

                                                                                                    Overall, the result was very tasty. Braising the fennel makes it sweet and subtle, tempering the harsh licorice quality of raw fennel. It almost reminded me of cooked artichoke hearts. I think the fish sauce worked fine, although I'm curious to try next time w/ anchovies.

                                                                                                    While I enjoyed the dish on its own, I thought the flavors competed a bit w/ the pork and would opt for a plainer version next time. I think this version would match better w/ lamb. Look forward to comparing to Zuni's or Marcella's braised fennel dish. Also can't wait to try the world's best braised cabbage!

                                                                                                    Photo of braised fennel alongside pork:

                                                                                                    1. Peperonata (pg. 45)

                                                                                                      I'm not a sweet pepper fan and I especially don't like green peppers. But, I had a bunch of assorted sweet peppers, including a bunch of green peppers in my CSA box, so I decided to give this recipe a try.

                                                                                                      And, I liked it. The peppers actually tasted good to me. It's not something I would seek out and would probably only make if I had more peppers than I wanted. But, I was pleasantly surprised with the results. And I bet, it would be better with the red, yellow and orange peppers that the recipe called for.

                                                                                                      I trimmed, de-seeded, and cut up the peppers and thickly cut up an onion. I softened the onion in evoo then threw in 3 minced anchovies and a healthy dose of red pepper flakes. The peppers went in next and braised for about 40 minutes. I did follow the recipe and stirred the pot every 15 minutes. Afterwards, I added a couple of teaspoons of balsamic vinegar and a healthy handful of parsley. I served it at room temperature.


                                                                                                      1. I made the braised green cabbage and served it at rooom temperature with Maple Glazed Short Ribs in Porter Beer. It is delicious and was very sweet from the long slow braise. I loved the dash of red pepper on it. It went well with the short ribs and is soooo easy it is going to be a staple recipe. LOve it.

                                                                                                        I did have trouble fitting it into my pan and ended up with 6 wedges instead of 8.

                                                                                                        1. I made the shallot confit last week. Served with a quick roasted pork tenderloin, baked potatoes, and green beans(I like to keep my other items simple when I'm trying out a new recipe). It was the first time I've flamed anything so that was fun.:)...still have eyebrows and arm hair. So, the recipe, I thought the color was kind of unattractive after braising in the red wine but the flavor was good. I'm not sure I loved it but I'm going to try it again because I think it would be yummy w/goat cheese on a baguette. I'll post again if I do that.

                                                                                                          1. inspired by this thread i made braised cabbage but added browned duck legs using rendered duck fat from browning to drizzle over cabbage:

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: VegaCarpio

                                                                                                              Looks delicious. Can you elaborate on how you cooked the duck legs?

                                                                                                            2. thank you.
                                                                                                              i trimmed an excess fat/skin from duck legs (Grimaud Farm, available at Whole Foods), rubbed a meat side with some lemon zest/sage, sprinkled with salt and left them to dry the skin out for a couple of hours ouiside of the fridge.
                                                                                                              then browned legs on med heat for about ten minutes; putting a cast iron pan on top of legs to brown them evenly.
                                                                                                              then just proceeded to a base Stevens recipe.

                                                                                                              1. "Sweet Braised Whole Sallions" (p. 92).

                                                                                                                This was delicious. I halved the recipe for the two of us, and used a smaller baking dish so I cut the scallions in half. Otherwise, followed the recipe (adding some butter, water, salt and pepper, and chopped parsley, cover, and braising at 350 for about 35 minutes). Remove foil, increase oven to 450, and cook for another 10-15 minutes. They came out so sweet, and were great as a bed for the "Red Pine Chicken" (p. 154).


                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: Rubee

                                                                                                                  Oh - and be sure to use scallions, the "whole sallions" aren't so good this season. ;)

                                                                                                                  1. re: Rubee

                                                                                                                    I made these sweet braised scallions tonight after reading about them on food52. The flavor was great but the texture was off - they were very chewy, fibrous and not that tender. Has anyone else made this recipe? I liked the flavors and often need to use up the rest of a bunch of scallions (bunches are huge at my local farmers market). I'd like to troubleshoot the texture if anybody has any tips or suggestions.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                      I like these.
                                                                                                                      I did not have a problem with texture, but I used small, store type scallions, but they were fresh. I have had texture problems when I have had grilled scallions at restaurants. Did you make sure the amount was right for the pan size? - with this book, I think, that matters a lot.

                                                                                                                      1. re: mscoffee1

                                                                                                                        Yeah I may have had too much for the pan, and my scallions were pretty large, so maybe not that tender? I'll have to experiment. Thanks for your ideas.

                                                                                                                  2. i made the leek part of the creamy halibut steaks and leeks recipe the other night as a side for the whole braised chicken. WOW. they were sinful. buttery and gorgeous! will be a definite repeat winter side dish in my kitchen!

                                                                                                                    1. Tart with Braised Leeks and Gruyere

                                                                                                                      This was great - would definitely make this again. Braising the leeks first really makes this delicious. Cheated and used Pillsbury pie crust and blind-baked it. I chopped up the leftover braised leeks with bacon and thyme and spread them out in the bottom of the pre-baked tart shell, then bacon, and then grated Gruyere. Whisk eggs, creme fraiche, and heavy cream, fresh thyme, nutmeg and salt and pepper. Pour over and bake for about 40 minutes. I also threw it under the broiler and may have left it just a bit too long. It's been just as tasty warm or cold.



                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: Rubee

                                                                                                                        Looks dee-licious! Must say that the storebought pie crust looks pretty good too. :-)

                                                                                                                        1. re: Carb Lover

                                                                                                                          I find those Pillsbury crusts come in really handy; I used to turn up my nose at them. Then I tried them. They're pretty good and real time savers.

                                                                                                                      2. That tart looks yummy. I don't even remember seeing that recipe-- that's one thing I really like about this project, having someone else point out a great recipe. Thanks!

                                                                                                                        1. Red Cabbage Braised with Maple & Ginger

                                                                                                                          Made this for a dinner party last night as a side for the Zuni Standing Rib Roast of Pork (will report as soon as the Zuni threads get posted) and it was just wonderful. Perfect combination of sweet/sour in just the right balance without one overpowering the other. My guests loved it, and all took seconds.

                                                                                                                          And it is especially good for a dinner party. Stevens says to serve warm or at room temp, so I finished the oven cooking--one hour with it being stirred every 20 minutes, which I'm not sure was necessary although I did it--and then let it rest in the pan on top of the hot stove for nearly an hour and a half until I was ready to serve the main course. Even after sitting that long there was no discernable change in moisture level or texture.

                                                                                                                          I hesitated to buy this book when it was first suggested as a Cookbook of the Month selection. I wasn't at all sure I needed a book devoted solely to that subject when there are so many recipes available. But I've now made at least half a dozen recipes from it and every one has been a winner. It's turned out to be a truly wonderful addition to my already embarassingly large collection of cookbooks. Thanks once again, redwood2bay--and all contributors. I'd never have had the pleasure were it not for you all.

                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                            Red Cabbage with Maple & Ginger, Pg. 63

                                                                                                                            This was absolutely wonderful! Easy to prep, easy to cook, and the result was delicious. What's not to love: bacon, chopped onion, chopped tart apple, grated fresh ginger, cider vinegar, 2 Ts maple syrup, and a lovely red cabbage sliced thinly. All that comes together, after sautéing one ingredient at a time, and gently braises for 20 minutes. The result is a sweet-tart fabulous accompaniment for roast pork.

                                                                                                                            The pork was Arrostino di Maiale (Roasted Pork with Herbs) from the Williams-Sonoma cookbook/travel book "Rome" written by Chowhound Maureen B. Fant. Beautiful book and beautiful recipe!

                                                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                              I made this on the weekend. Everyone loved it. The contrast of sweet and sour is just right. and I love that it has apple cider vinegar as a key ingredient.

                                                                                                                              1. re: kitchensalli

                                                                                                                                There was about 3/4 cup left over in the fridge yesterday so I had it for lunch...cold! It was fantastic. The cabbage I originally used was very large, so I have the other half to use. I'm making the same recipe on Friday night to go with our turkey leftovers!

                                                                                                                            2. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                              Red Cabbage with Maple & Ginger, Pg. 63
                                                                                                                              Liked this and like most of these recipes, my affection grew for it. I find Stevens a wonderful recipe creator/devisor. She has a subtle hand at seasoning which makes things blend well.
                                                                                                                              Nice cookbook, I second JoanN, thanks to Redwood2bay and all.

                                                                                                                            3. Fennel Braised with Thyme and Black Olives (pg. 67)

                                                                                                                              This was one of the few things from this book that I didn't love. Not the recipe's fault, I think I am not the biggest fennel fan. I like it in small portions, mixed in with a lot of stuff.

                                                                                                                              This was a fairly easy recipe with a longish braise (1 1/4 hours). Brown fennel quarters and put into a shallow baking pan with black and green olives. Add the aromatics (garlic, thyme, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, chicken stock and wine. Then braise.

                                                                                                                              It was a pretty dish.

                                                                                                                              1. Creamy Braised Brussel Sprouts (pg. 65)

                                                                                                                                I love brussel sprouts and wanted to try a different way to cook them. Generally, I roast the sprouts and do different things after the roasting process. This recipe called for a straight saute then braise. I liked the sprouts, but prefer the roasted flavor overall.

                                                                                                                                Cut the sprouts into small pieces, saute in butter and then braise with cream. After the sprouts are tender, add a bit of lemon juice to brighten the flavor.

                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                  I made these tonight, to accompany grilled NY strips w/ wild mushrooms and a lettuce-apple-blue cheese-pecan salad. We loved them; they are rich and delicious, and the recipe is super easy. This is a very soul-satisfying, autumnal (and not to mention highly caloric) dish--would be right at home on the Thanksgiivng table. DH says he hopes I'll make these again and again.

                                                                                                                                  I have long made a creamed brussels sprout dish--whole small sprouts are steamed briefly until barely tender and then rolled around in cream that's had a large piece of lemon zest steeping in it. It has brighter colors and a somewhat more lemony flavor; I always sprinkle chopped parsley on top for even more color. I love it, too, but DH says he preferred this. (I suppose it's because the sprouts are cut into small wedges in Stevens's recipe, so the creaminess is distributed throughout, coating every leaf.)

                                                                                                                                  Definitely a keeper!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                    I made these and they were terrific. I braised only a few min (the sprouts were smaller than specified). Even without the cream the sprouts were great, but I used some cream and that was even better. Maybe it was because the sprouts were very fresh, but these were better than any BS I've had.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                      Creamy Braised Brussels Sprouts, p. 65.

                                                                                                                                      Made these last night to accompany a winter meal. I also really liked the flavor. I love my usual method of roasting brussels sprouts but doing so takes some last-minute attention and I also feel that you really need to serve roasted sprouts right away. I especially liked that you can make this version a couple of hours ahead and just let it rest till serving-time; the cream thickens naturally and meanwhile the sauce unctuously penetrates the little wedges of brussels sprouts. I kept mine gently warm on a hot-tray and the texture of the sprouts held up just fine.

                                                                                                                                      I agree that this would be a perfect holiday/dinner-party buffet dish because of its richness and versatility.

                                                                                                                                      Oh yes: I took Stevens' advice and sprinkled a handful of , chopped toasted hazelnuts over the dish at serving time. Really nice addition.

                                                                                                                                    2. all this sounds like great fun, but what does the loooonnnngg cooking do to the nutrients?

                                                                                                                                      1. Butter-Glazed Radishes, p. 73

                                                                                                                                        I've never had cooked radishes, so I was extremely curious about this one. But frankly, they weren't that interesting. Cooking gave them a mild, turnip-like flavor. They were pleasant enough, but I doubt I'll ever make this recipe again.

                                                                                                                                        Trim & wash the radishes. She likes to keep a bit of the stem on, but says it's optional, so I cut them off. Simmer in butter and chicken stock seasoned with sugar, salt, and pepper. When radishes are tender (about 25 min), remove lid and simmer to reduce liquid to a glaze.

                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                                                                                          If you have the Flexitarian book, you might try his recipe for cooked radishes. I really loved it.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                            Lulu's Mom you took the words right out of my mouth...or out of my keyboard. I loved that Flexitarian recipe and use it frequently. He adds the radish greens to the braising of the radishes. The combo and his other ingreds are just divine!

                                                                                                                                        2. Has anyone tried the Savoy Cabbage Gratin? It's on my list to hit before the end of November!

                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                          1. re: newfoodie

                                                                                                                                            Savoy Cabbage Gratin with Saint-Marcellin, p.61

                                                                                                                                            I did finally give this a try and I really liked it. I thought it was perfect for a vegetarian dinner and the cheese made it really decadent. I wished I had cooked it a bit longer as there was still a bit too much liquid. Otherwise it was really delicious and now I can't wait to try the World's Best Cabbage!

                                                                                                                                          2. Savoy Cabbage Gratin with Saint-Marcellin, p.61

                                                                                                                                            I feel like I should make the World's Best cabbage before writing about this one, so I can compare them. But I'm not sure when that will be happening, so here's a quick report anyhow.

                                                                                                                                            Savoy cabbage is sliced into strips, sauteed in butter with chopped scallions, then braised with chicken stock for 65 minutes. At the end, it's dotted with Saint-Marcellin cheese and baked another 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

                                                                                                                                            This was tasty, although I'm not sure it was worth using Saint-Marcellin on it. I think I would rather have eaten the cheese on crackers, the better to appreciate its delicious creaminess. I did wonder whether I even had the same cheese she did, because she says to "cut or tear the cheese into small lumps", but the only way to deal with the deliciously soft and creamy one I had was to use a spoon to scoop it out of its darling little crock and dot it over the casserole.

                                                                                                                                            To be fair, I ran out of time at the end, so there was more liquid in the gratin than there should have been. When I added the cheese, it got somewhat diluted as it melted. If the gratin had been drier, the creaminess of the cheese might have been more apparent. In retrospect, I should have drained off the excess liquid and reduced it on the stovetop.

                                                                                                                                            Also skewing my results was that my chicken stock was from a chicken roasted with lemons, and the lemony taste became increasingly pronounced as the liquid reduced. An interesting effect, but probably not as it was intended.

                                                                                                                                            Bottom line: I think I'd make it again, giving myself enough time, using a more neutral chicken stock, and possibly using a different cheese.

                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                            1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                                                                                              Savoy Cabbage Gratin with Saint-Marcellin, p.61
                                                                                                                                              So far I made it twice (last month and this month) and really love it. For my fist one, I guess I used too deep stoneware (2.5 inch deep with its fluted edge/side like below ) and I had TOO much liquid as Karen. So, cheese was kind of melted and the cabbage was a bit too soft, but still tasty. For my revenge round, I used a 2qt Appilco sole oval baking dish (2.0 inch side, so it is very wide flat). It worked perfectly as I have less liquid to evaporate. Cheese stays as melted cheese and a bit brown crust on it. Sooooo good. I really love the taste of cabbage and creamy cheese. To sum, it is very critical to make sure that you have LESS liquid, use the shallowest baking dish you have and make sure that you take the foil away in time to let liquid evaporated. You can always add liquid if you like. I like this one better than World best cabbage.


                                                                                                                                            2. World's Best Braised Cabbage, Stevens, p. 59

                                                                                                                                              So many have posted on this recipe that I don't need to go through its steps. I followed the recipe closely except that I used 1/2 c. chicken stock instead of 1/4 and added about a tablespoon of butter, in small pieces (tip from Rubee).

                                                                                                                                              As my cabbage was braising, I read Christina Mason's post and her "meh" conclusion, so I sampled it before dinner. While I thought it was good, it did not strike me as any better than some of the blander versions of boiled or steamed cabbage I've had in the past. (I grew up on cabbage "smothered" in bacon or other pork fat, so I'm coming at this a ruined woman!)

                                                                                                                                              Since I had just roasted a duck and had lots of fabulous drippings, I drizzled a few Ts of those over the cabbage. Wow! That took it somewhere else. With the duck, some green lentils, and a bracing arugula salad w/lemon vinaigrette, the cabbage was a fine accompaniment. In that company, it probably would have been just fine sans duck drippings. At any rate, DH, who only tolerates cabbage but does not love it, said he'll eat cabbage anytime if it comes with duck.

                                                                                                                                              Would I make this again? Maybe, depending on what else I was serving. It was easy and low-maintenance and pretty good if not spectacular. It's something I could make for my mother, who loves the bland boiled cabbage she ate often as a child, and she'd love it.

                                                                                                                                              10 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                I'm relieved reading this, because I worried maybe I'd missed something. I similarly thought, "This isn't a huge improvement on boiled cabbage." I think this dish would be better with something more---duck drippings was a brilliant idea. Bacon also comes to mind. Will I make it again? Probably not. I do need to find a way to use up the 1/2 pan of leftovers. Maybe as soup with ham? Thoughts?

                                                                                                                                                Also thought I'd add: when I admitted to my husband that this dish spent 2+ hrs. in the oven, he teased me about the carbon footprint. I think you could accomplish the same by simmering on the stovetop for 25 or 30 minutes, then passing under the broiler briefly to brown.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                  I made The World’s Best Cabbage again last night for perhaps the seventh or eighth time and I loved it as much as I always do. It’s hard for me to see how it can be compared to boiled or steamed cabbage. After 15 minutes (I usually do about 20) uncovered @ 400 degrees, the cabbage and onions start to caramelize, are toasty brown along the edges, and—to my mind at least—are incredibly sweet and flavorful. My brother asked me to type out the recipe for him. He said that cabbage is plentiful and cheap where he lives in Spain and since he likes it anyway, he’s tried many different ways of preparing it. This one, he said, was better than any of them.

                                                                                                                                                  But I’m not crazy about Dorie Greenspan’s World Peace Cookies, so I have real respect for those who post opinions contrary to the majority.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                    Maybe I didn't let them caramelize enough. I will try popping the leftovers under the broiler to see if that helps at all.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                      I also think the size of the cabbage makes a huge difference. If the cabbage is over 2lbs. it really doesn't taste as good as a smaller cabbage - something to do with cramming all the cabbage in to fit the pan. After the carmelization, I sprinkle fleur de sel (per Steven's rec) onto individual servings.

                                                                                                                                                      Lastly, I always add extra carrots in with the cabbage bc those have a wonderful flavor as well.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                        I don't know, but it may be that I just have a jaded palate for cabbage. I've almost always had it cooked in some kind of pork fat, and cooked halfway to death--not healthy, but pretty tasty. It didn't taste *much* better than the blander versions I've had, but it was better in that it wasn't soggy, even though I upped the amount of chicken stock. Maybe I could have caramelized more.
                                                                                                                                                        But as you note, tastes are different. My mother has always loved the cabbage in NE Boiled Dinner and doesn't care for Southern prepartions much. I think she'd really like the Stevens prepartion.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                          May I just add that some cabbages can simply taste better than others?

                                                                                                                                                          It's easy to think that a cabbage is a cabbage is a cabbage. But in a relatively simple recipe like this, the flavor of the basic ingredient can have a huge effect. The variety, growing conditions, and weather can all affect the flavor (Early Jersey Wakefield is fabulous, but you'll probably never find it at a market). Cold weather increases the sugars in cabbage family crops, for instance (my kale is tasting almost weirdly sweet after a couple nights of frost), and exposure to cold depends on where they're grown. Not to mention storage issues, always a factor, especially for produce that 'stores well.'

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                                                                                                            Thanks for your post Karen.... I have a cabbage from the farm which I bought last week and have been sitting on a fence wondering which way to jump. Make this dish. Don't make this dish. I have no idea how much the darn thing weighs, but if, when I do weigh it, it's over 2 lbs. I'll simply cut it down to size.

                                                                                                                                                            I've been following the reportage of the Best Cabbage results and decision time came when I read JoanN's and Karen's comments today. Thank you both!
                                                                                                                                                            Tomorrow's the night. Will report back as always.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                              Gio, don't worry about the size of your cabbage too much. We're only three here, so there was no way I was going to use a whole dang cabbage for this dish. I just cut four serving sized wedges and jammed them into a 9x9 baking pan.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: clamscasino

                                                                                                                                                                Perfect, Clams... then that's what I'll do! Thank you. Tonight's the night. As I re-read the recipe yesterday I decided to do the balsamic variation at the end. I'll be using 'industrial' balsamic vinegar from TJ's not the priceless aged Balsamic I wish I had....

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                                                                                                              BRAISED CABBAGE REVISITED

                                                                                                                                                              We don't have much choice as to cabbages around here, but I decided to try the braised cabbage again last night, w/a few tweaks. Since I was roating duck, I oiled the pot w/some duck fat and a little olive oil. In addition to the carrots and onion, I added a few cloves of garlic and then drizzled the stock, some olive oil, and just a few drops more of duck fat along w/red pepper. I also braised everything on the stove, on low, after first bringing the liquid to a quick boil, which took only about an hour. I then finished it off in a 450 oven for 10 minutes or so, to brown the top.
                                                                                                                                                              It really seemed better than the last time I made it--DH, who can take cabbage or leave it, certainly thought so--possibly because of the presence of slightly more assertive flavors. I can see myself making this again.

                                                                                                                                                      2. Braised Endive w/Prosciutto, p. 56

                                                                                                                                                        This sounded really good, but we definitely did not like it although I am willing to attribute that mostly to the quality of my ingredients. My endives were somewhat scrawny, and my prosciutto--leftover from last week-- was from the freezer.

                                                                                                                                                        I halved the recipe, and then browned the endive in a skillet as directed, then lightly sauteed the prosciutto, cut into strips, in the butter remaining in the skillet. Transferred prosciutto to gratin dish w/ endive. Brought (homemade) chicken stock to boil in skillet and poured it over the endive. Because I often do a simpler braised endive dish, I knew Stevens's cooking time would be too long, esp. for my puny babies that seemed almost fully cooked in the browning. So instead of 35 minutes, I checked them after 15--and they were already so cooked that they were almost liquefied. I skipped the recommended second braising period as they certainly didn't need it, and poured a couple of tsp. cream (her amounts seemed copious on what I was looking at!) on top and ran the dish quickly under the broiler as it couldn't take another 6 minutes of baking. Although I added no salt, only groung pepper, the dish was super salty (maybe the prosciutto, maybe my stock though I never add salt when making it). The prosciutto seemed to overwhelm the subtle flavor of the endive. So for me, not a good dish. No surprise that some of this was left over, even though the yield was tiny.

                                                                                                                                                        I wouldn't make this one again, mainly because I found it too fussy. I loved braised endive and usually use a very simple prep.--brown in butter in a skillet, add stock, cover and braise over low heat stovetop for just enough time for the endive to get tender--and get good results.

                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: nomadchowwoman


                                                                                                                                                          I'm sorry that your endive dish turned out to be less than stellar. Did you try the Ottolenghi recipe? It's a similar dish, although it uses even more fat and salt. It's quite rich and delicious. The endives I've used were all pretty hefty and looked very fresh. A lot of endives I've seen over the years have been wilted speciments with brown spots. This is changing as more folks buy them..

                                                                                                                                                          The endives are cut in half and caramelized in butter and sugar over high heat.

                                                                                                                                                          They're then placed on a parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkled with s&p.

                                                                                                                                                          Breadcrumbs are mixed with parmesan, cream (I used 1/2 and 1/2 as if that made much of a difference what with the butter and ham and cheese!), thyme and salt and "a good grind" of black pepper and spooned over the endives. Each endive is topped with a slice of Serrano ham and the whole think is roasted in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the endives are cooked through. Ottolenghi serves this drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with parsley. I skipped the olive oil, figuring I had enough fat and salt already.

                                                                                                                                                          This was quite delicious as a side dish with some roast pork. Can't remember what else we had at that meal because it was a while ago.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                                                                            Thanks, oj, I will try this. I love endive--and serrano ham . . . and butter . . .and cream. This sounds divine; I do think it was my less-than-stellar ingredients, not the Stevens recipe's, that was the problem. I should have known to compensate for the scrawniness of my endives. But endive has been looking very good so I'm going to get a few fat ones and try the Ottolenghi approach.

                                                                                                                                                        2. I bought this book last winter but did not make vegis that often. This winter, so far, I made following:

                                                                                                                                                          The Simplest Potato & Leek Braise - P. 41 :Love it. Easy and Tastes good. Good alternative to Potato gratin.

                                                                                                                                                          End-of-Summer Green Beans Braised - P.43: Like it. Great with spagetti, but if you do not like smell of fish, it is not for you.

                                                                                                                                                          Peppery Braised Broccoli Rabe With Arugula - P51: Like it. Good recipe forcing my hus to eat more greens.

                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: hobbybaker

                                                                                                                                                            The Simplest Potato & Leek Braise - P. 41
                                                                                                                                                            I loved this and did not expect to. It took somewhat longer then the times given, but when the liquid had evaporated it was rich and lovely.
                                                                                                                                                            Leek and Potatoes are baked with chicken stock. Then add cream and bake some more.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mscoffee1

                                                                                                                                                              Sounds great. If it ever cools off around here, I'm going to try this. Potato. Leeks. Cream. How could it not be good?

                                                                                                                                                          2. Braised Celery with Crunchy Bread Crumb Topping, pp. 78-79

                                                                                                                                                            Okay, so I'm a tad late to this thread. I don't know what produce prices were like in 2006 but this winter I remain in stick shock. So I bought a bunch/head/whatever of celery yesterday. I liked it alot.

                                                                                                                                                            You remove the stalks from the head, leaving the shorter, pale ones. Trim off the top that includes the fronds. Chop the heart and top, saute' in butter with shallot thyme, s&p, til browning, about 10 minutes. Add a 1/4 C vermouth and cook til mostly dry. Add a cup of chicken stock and reduce by half. Cut the stalks in 3-4" pieces and lay in the pan. Pour the stock mixture over the celery, cover with foil and cook in a 325 oven until the celery is VERY soft, about an hour. Remove from the oven, increase the heat to 400. Sprinkle 1/3 C grated Gruyere or half and half Gruyere (I used Parm Reg. and Pec. Rom cause that's what I had). and 3-4 T bread crumbs. Back in the oven for about 10 minutes. The only thing this suffered from, IMO, was the lack of the Gruyere. But I will definitely make it again. Though just two of us, I made the full recipe and will have a couple more meal's worth of side dishes from it.

                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                              I had a chuckle here. I have some celery in the fridge and nothing else that would qualify as a "leafy green vegetable" so I looked at this thread to see if anyone had cooked celery from this book. Lo and behold, *I* had :) Decided this thread could use a bump anyway. Looking forward to enjoying this for the "first time" again.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                Well, the joke's on me. This was SO good. I was dealing with pretty limp celery. And again, no gruyere. But I used Emmentahler (?sp). Really good.