When the world is in an uproar, there’s something about cooking that, for me, is comforting. Even better is when the recipe takes simple ingredients and a bit of work – chopping, stirring, cooking time over an hour or so. This past weekend I indulged and cooked two fairly simple dishes that took some time.
On Saturday, I was scrolling for “healthy vegetable recipes”, and came across one for Mushroom Sugo over at Simply Recipes. Intrigued, I looked further, and they had me at the first sentence…”The onions cook for a long time…” bingo. Just what I was looking for.
Scanning the ingredients – dried porcini mushrooms, onions, carrots, celery, garlic, parsley, a bunch of other fresh herbs, wine, etc – I could almost smell the rich scent in my kitchen. So when it came time to head off to the store to buy my new dishwasher, I took the recipe with us.
Unfortunately, the dishwasher drama took longer than I thought it would. Then finding Porcini mushrooms was another epic drama – three stores. THREE. In Southern California, no less.
But finally, I got home with everything I needed, and I began chopping. Whoops, change that to mincing, which takes four times as long as chopping. Half way through the forest of vegetables I had to mince, I was now thoroughly irritated with myself and everyone around me (except the cat). I had envisioned starting the dish around two in the afternoon, never mind the fact that we didn’t even set out to shop until 3:30p. Mincing onions that needed to cook for 40 minutes at 6:30p wasn’t my idea of a good time.
Anyway – the onions eventually turned a deep goldeny brown color, all the other vegetables were minced in good order, everything got put into the pot at the appropriate time, and finally – finally! – I was able to sit back, exhausted, and enjoy the scents wafting from the covered pot on the stove. It needed to simmer for 90 minutes.
What I received, as a thank you for all that chopping? A wonderful, thick, gravy-like bit of vegetable nirvana. I served it over rotini and backed it with a terrific Zinfandel, but it would be fabulous on top of a broiled chicken breast, or as a sauce on mashed potatoes. The porcini liquid (from soaking the mushrooms) added a richness usually found in beef dishes, and the flavor from all those onions, carrots, celery and garlic melded with the mushrooms to make a winter night glow. I definitely give this recipe a “You Gotta Try It!”
On Sunday, I made Braised Root Vegetables and Cabbage with Fall Fruit – wanting to stay in that hearty-but-healthy mode – from Food & Wine’s website. A medley of onions, carrots, radishes, turnips, Savoy cabbage, apples and pears, it was surprisingly mellow and tasty, and nothing needed to be minced – so it was quick to chop those vegetables, too. Ten minutes on the stove top and half an hour in the oven, and it was a fabulous complement to our steak dinner. On Monday night, it did double duty – heated up, it went great over pasta with a sprinkling of fresh parmesan cheese. This recipe, too, gets a “You Gotta Try It!”
So there you go – two hearty vegetable recipes. I swore the next time I made the Mushroom Sugo, I’d make a triple batch, teach the teens how to mince, and then freeze most of it for heating up in the depths of deadlines – but that would also mean getting a bigger refrigerator/freezer. Which is a different posting, all together. Until next time, here’s to eating healthy and drinking responsibly!
The Autumnal Equinox comes September 23rd – it’s time to get ready.