Braised Potatoes With Bay Leaves and Garlic

Serves 4 to 6.

Note: You might not have cooked potatoes this way before, but this will persuade you to do so again and again. They become deeply flavorful, fragrant and tender. Look for small ones that you can leave whole, such as fingerlings and two-bite red potatoes. The potatoes taste even better after a day’s refrigeration. Adapted from “All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking,” by Molly Stevens.

• 1 1/2 lb. small red or white potatoes, scrubbed

• 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

• 1 c. no-salt-added chicken broth, or as needed (or substitute water)

• 2 bay leaves, preferably fresh

• 2 to 3 garlic cloves, smashed

• Kosher salt

• Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

If the potatoes are larger than golf ball size, cut them in half. If you are leaving them whole, use a vegetable peeler to remove a band of skin around the circumference of each potato; that will allow the flavors of the braising liquid to penetrate.

Place the potatoes in a saucepan large enough to hold them in a snug single layer without crowding. Add the oil, then enough broth to come halfway up the sides of the potatoes. Tear the bay leaves in half and add them to the saucepan, along with the garlic (to taste). Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Cover and cook over medium heat; once the broth is bubbling at the edges, reduce the heat to medium-low. Braise, lifting the lid and turning the potatoes with a spoon after about 10 minutes; cover and cook until the potatoes are just tender when pierced with a thin skewer, for a total of about 20 minutes.

Uncover and increase the heat to high; boil, gently shaking the pan back and forth, until the water evaporates and you can hear the oil sizzle, about 5 minutes. The braised garlic cloves will break down and coat the potatoes as you shake the pan.

Discard the bay leaves; serve hot.

Nutrition information per each of 6 servings:

Calories 140 Fat 7 g Sodium 70 mg

Carbohydrates 19 g Saturated fat 1 g

Protein 2 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 2 g

 

Braised Green Cabbage With Balsamic

Serves 6 to 8.

Note: The cabbage is cooked in big wedges, so it requires an extended cooking time — over 2 hours! — to render it tender and sweet. A sprinkle of fleur de sel before serving adds a crunchy counterpoint. Serve alongside beans or mashed potatoes for a comforting supper. The dish can be refrigerated for up to 1 day. Adapted from “All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking,” by Molly Stevens.

• 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the baking dish

• 1 small to medium head green cabbage (about 2 lb.), trimmed and cut into 8 equal wedges

• 1 large yellow onion (about 8 oz.), cut into thick slices

• 1 large carrot, scrubbed well and cut into 1/4-in. rounds

• 1/4 c. no-salt-added chicken broth

• Scant 1 teaspoon kosher salt

• Freshly ground black pepper

• 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes, or more as needed

• Water, optional

• 1 1/2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

• Fleur de sel or coarse sea salt, for serving

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a large gratin dish or 9- by 13-inch baking dish with a little oil.

Arrange the cabbage wedges in the baking dish. Scatter the onion and carrot around the cabbage. Drizzle with the 1/4 cup of oil and the broth, then season with the salt, a good pinch of the black pepper and the crushed red pepper flakes. Cover tightly with aluminum foil; slow-roast (middle rack) for about 2 hours, until the vegetables are completely tender. Use tongs to turn over the cabbage wedges after the first hour. Don’t worry if the wedges want to fall apart as you turn them; just do your best to keep them intact. If the dish is drying out at all, add a few tablespoons of water.

Once the cabbage is completely tender, remove the dish from the oven; increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees.

Uncover the cabbage; sprinkle on the balsamic vinegar, carefully turning the wedges to distribute. Return to the oven uncovered and roast for 15 minutes or so, until the vegetables begin to brown. Taste, and add black pepper or crushed red pepper flakes as needed.

Serve warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with fleur de sel or other coarse salt.

Nutrition information per each of 8 servings:

Calories 110 Fat 7 g Sodium 270 mg

Carbohydrates 11 g Saturated fat 1 g

Protein 2 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 4 g

 

Butter-Braised Carrots and Fennel With Orange Zest

Serves 4 to 6.

Note: The sunny hue of this dish brightens any cold-weather meal. Serve it alongside something meaty, like steak or chops. But it’s also a fresh counterpoint to a bowl of whole grains. The dish can be refrigerated up to 4 days. From Molly Stevens.

• 2 tbsp. unsalted butter

• 1 large shallot, minced (a heaping 1/4 c.)

• 1 tsp. coriander seed, crushed

• 2 small bulbs or 1 medium bulb fennel, plus a few fennel fronds for optional garnish

• 2 strips of orange peel, removed with a vegetable peeler, each about 3/4- by 2-in.

• 1 lb. carrots, trimmed, scrubbed well and cut into 1/2-by-2-in. sticks

• 1 tsp. kosher salt, or more as needed

• Freshly ground black pepper

• 1/4 c. dry vermouth or dry white wine

• 1/2 c. water

Directions

Melt the butter in a large skillet or shallow braising pan over medium heat. Add the shallot and coriander seed; cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the shallot is translucent.

Trim the fennel bulb(s); if desired, reserve a handful of the fennel fronds and coarsely chop them. Cut the fennel bulb into 1/2-inch-thick wedges.

Stir the orange peel and fennel into the shallot mixture until evenly coated; cook until the fennel just begins to sizzle, about 4 minutes. (This will give the fibrous fennel a head start on the quicker-cooking carrots.) Add the carrots, and season with the salt and a good pinch of pepper.

Add the vermouth or wine; once it begins to bubble, add the water. Cover, and reduce the heat to medium-low; cook for about 40 minutes, stirring once or twice.

Uncover; increase the heat to medium and let the liquid reduce for about 5 minutes or until it nicely coats the vegetables. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed.

Discard the orange peel, if you like. Serve hot or warm, garnished with the fennel fronds, if using.

Nutrition information per each of 6 servings:

Calories 100 Fat 4 g Sodium 410 mg

Carbohydrates 14 g Saturated fat 3 g

Protein 2 g Cholesterol 10 mg Dietary fiber 5 g

 

Cider-Braised Rutabagas and Leeks

Serves 4 to 6.

Note: The cider underscores the rutabaga’s inherent sweetness, making this a fine side for roast pork or chicken. If you can’t find a dry cider to use here, use dry white wine or chicken broth. Sweet cider makes this too sweet. The dish can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. From Molly Stevens.

• 2 strips thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-in. pieces

• 1 medium or 2 small leeks, white and light-green parts, halved and sliced and cut into 1/2-in. pieces, then rinsed well (about 2 c.)

• 1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves

• 2 garlic cloves, minced

• About 2 lb. rutabagas, thickly peeled and cut into 3/4- to 1-in. chunks

• Scant 1 tsp. kosher salt, or more as needed

• Freshly ground black pepper

• 1 c. cider, preferably a very dry European style (see Note)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Distribute the bacon pieces in a large ovenproof skillet; cook over medium heat until crisp, about 4 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a plate.

Add the leek(s) to the rendered fat in the skillet; cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally over medium heat until the leeks are beginning to soften.

Add the thyme and garlic, and cook until just fragrant, for about 3 minutes, then stir in the rutabaga until well coated. Season with the salt and a pinch of pepper.

Pour in the cider; once it begins to bubble at the edges, return the bacon to the skillet, scattering it evenly over the vegetables. Cover tightly and transfer to the oven to braise, stirring once about halfway through, until the rutabaga is tender and has taken on an orange hue, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours.

Taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed. Serve hot or warm.

Nutrition information per each of 6 servings:

Calories 180 Fat 8 g Sodium 470 mg

Carbohydrates 21 g Saturated fat 3 g

Protein 5 g Cholesterol 10 mg Dietary fiber 4 g

 

Onions Glazed With Pomegranate Molasses

Serves 4.

Note: Look for walnut-size boiling onions at the market. Pearl onions work, too, but they are fussier to peel because they are smaller, and they might cook more quickly. If you happen to find fresh baby/spring onions (not skinny green onions), skip the blanching step. Instead, leave about 1/2 inch of the green stem and peel away only the thinnest outer membrane before braising. The dish can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. From Molly Stevens.

• 1 lb. white boiling onions, about 1 in. in diameter (see Note)

• 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

• 1 tbsp. unsalted butter

• 1 tsp. peeled, minced fresh ginger root

• 1 garlic clove, minced

• 1 (2- or 3-in.) cinnamon stick

• 1 bay leaf

• 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

• 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, or more as needed

• Freshly ground black pepper

• 1/2 c. water, or as needed

• 2 tsp. pomegranate molasses

• 1 to 2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

• Fresh pomegranate seeds, for garnish, optional

Directions

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Drop the onions into the water; blanch for 1 minute, then drain them and rinse quickly with cold water. Drain again. Use a paring knife to trim off the root ends, and peel the onions.

Heat the oil and butter in a medium skillet (just large enough to hold the onions in a single layer) over medium-low heat until the butter melts. Add the ginger, garlic, cinnamon stick and bay leaf; cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is fragrant and the ginger and garlic have softened, about 4 minutes.

Add the onions, stir to coat, and season with the crushed red pepper flakes, salt and a pinch of the black pepper. Add just enough water to come about one-third of the way up the sides of the onions.

Once the water begins to bubble at the edges, cover the skillet and adjust the heat as needed so the liquid bubbles at the edges. Braise until the onions are tender enough to easily pierce with the tip of a paring knife, 20 to 30 minutes, depending on their size.

Uncover; increase the heat to medium-high and bring the liquid to a full boil. Discard the cinnamon stick and bay leaf. When there is just under 1/4 inch of liquid left in the skillet, add the pomegranate molasses. Cook, shaking the pan to prevent the onions from sticking, until the pan liquid is reduced to a glaze and the onions are well coated.

Taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed. Top with a scattering of the cilantro or parsley (to taste) and, if using, the pomegranate seeds. Serve hot or warm.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 110 Fat 6 g Sodium 250 mg

Carbohydrates 13 g Saturated fat 3 g

Protein 1 g Cholesterol 10 mg Dietary fiber 2 g