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Slow-Cook (Braising) Green Vegetables

(Newsletter Issue #012)

 

How to braise green vegetable

Though we are all fans of quickly cooked, bright green vegetables, some green vegetables, such as cabbage, green beans, broccoli and hardy greens like kale and chard, are actually more flavorful when cooked slowly in a covered pot (braised). They lose some of their bright green color, but the loss is more than compensated for by their deep and satisfying flavor, especially when they are cooked with ingredients such as garlic, hot chilies and bacon.

Kitchen Notes

  • Start with enough water or stock to come about one quarter of the way up the vegetable. This will be just enough liquid so that the vegetable cooks in, and is flavored by, its own juices.

  • Monitor the heat so that the liquid stays at a gentle simmer. The idea is to control the rate of evaporation so that the liquid completely evaporates by the time the vegetable is completely cooked, but not before. If the liquid is evaporating too quickly, turn down the heat or add more liquid as needed. If it is not evaporating quickly enough, turn up the heat and/or remove the lid.

  • The vegetable is done when the liquid has completely evaporated and the vegetable has a melting texture.


Braise Broccoli

1. Cut the stalks off the florets and peel the stalks with a vegetable peeler.
2. Cut the stalks lengthwise into quarters. Group the strips together and cut across into pieces.
3. Gently cook sliced garlic in extra virgin olive oil. Stir in the chopped broccoli stems and the florets and add enough water or stock to come about one quarter of the way up the broccoli.
4. Cover and cook over low to medium heat for about 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes and checking to make sure the pan isn't dry (Add a little more liquid if necessary). If there's any liquid left in the pan after 30 minutes, cook, uncovered, for about 10 minutes more to eliminate moisture.
5. Braised broccoli served on toasts and garnished with anchovy fillets and strips of grilled red bell pepper (capsicum) makes a savory dish.

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