Thursday, September 26

Easy Braised Veggies in a Cream sauce (recipe 5 of 30)

Hi again. Check out this picture. 

This is my new favorite side dish and recipe #5 in my adventure to do 30 new Rachael Ray recipes in 30 days. It's exciting to try new things and a stretch to consistently blog. I have to tell you about the amazing veggies we had last night. Confession #2,037 I do admit to hiding my favorite veggie (spinach) in recipes to make sure my family eats them. Last night, nothing was hidden. There was no where's waldo veggie or hide and seek veggie game going on. (Can you tell I have a 4 yr old?) It was clear that the veggies were the star of the show. This elegant dish was the best thing on my plate. 

I previously thought the recipe was a winner from the moment I snatched it from an October 2012 issue of Everday, but by changing it up I got to use my second favorite veggie (brussel sprouts) in a new exciting way. My son didn't even grimace when he saw them (the brussel sprouts) on his plate. I don't know why brussel sprouts have gotten a bad rap. I think they are great. You will too after you give them a short dip in some lovely cream and cheese. Trust me. 

This dish looks elegant, but seriously it works with any normal sort of menu you probably already make like burgers, fish, chicken, steak, pork chops, or meatloaf. It's elegant enough for company, quick enough for a school night, and packed with nutrients. I might be in love with this new cheesy creamy side dish. 

Note: If you haven't ever worked with fennel before you have nothing to fear. Fennel is super easy to work and is similar to a large onion, an onion that won't create tears. When you first start cutting, cut them in half so you can find the core at the base of the oval shaped bulb. The core is small. I just make a couple of small cuts to get the core out, most of the time in the shape of a triangle. Chop the fennel into long ribbons almost in a v shape, and separate the layers. Give it a quick wash in a bowl and you are good to go. The fennel's common licorice smell is evident when the vegetable is eaten fresh, but milds considerably after cooking.

Easy Braised Veggies in Cream Sauce
Prep time: 3-5 minutes, Cook time: 15 minutes
Serves 3-4 (but in my house its 2-3 servings)

1/2 Tbs unsalted butter, organic
1/2 Tbs olive oil or bacon fat 
2 fennel bulbs, quartered, cored, sliced approx 1/2 inch think
scant 1/3 cup of half and half
4 oz or half a small block of jack cheese, sliced, diced or shredded
1 cup of fresh brussel sprouts, trimmed, about 5-7 of them
1/4 tsp salt 
additional salt & pepper to taste

1. In a large skillet with a fitted lid, melt the butter and oil/fat together over medium high heat. The oil helps the butter to not burn. Letting the butter brown just a little tiny bit wouldn't hurt the veggies either if you are a fan of that yummy nutty brown butter trend thats been everywhere on pintrest. 

2. Brown the fennel and sprouts together in the butter over medium high heat. Sprinkle on the salt. Cook for approx 5 minutes letting bits of them get good and golden (carmelized). Stir often. 

3. Lower the heat to low and add in the half and half. Scrap up the brown bits. Stand back a little as the cream will bubble up and create steam. 

4. Cover the skillet and simmer for 8-10 minutes on low. Stir every 3 or 4 minutes. Near the 7 minute mark sprinkle on the chopped or shredded jack cheese and recover the skillet.  As soon as the veggies are fork tender and the cheese is melted, it is ready to serve. 

5. Taste for salt and pepper. Garnish with the green fronds if your fennel bulbs came with the large celery stalk like ends. 

Easy Yummy Warm Side Dish
Perfect for Fall. Perfect for school nights. 
From my kitchen to yours

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