Tag Archives: side dish

Butter-Roasted Cabbage with Citrus and Mustard

An interesting twist that elevates humble cabbage into something special. Softened butter is rubbed on edges of a cut head and then sprinkled with a fragrant combination of citrus zest, garlic and coriander. As the wedges roast, the exterior leaves become deeply browned and crispy, while the interior remains silky, sweet and tender. A bright, citrusy dressing completes the dish.

This side dish was born out of necessity. We were a few short days away from leaving for vacation, thus trying to use up any food that might spoil before we got back home. In our auxiliary refrigerator was a half-head of savoy cabbage which prompted us to look in our copy of Milk Street’s Vegetables cookbook for an appropriate recipe.

We had every ingredient on hand except for the hazelnuts (which is omitted in the list below) and decided to make it anyway, forgoing any nuts altogether. Since the half-head was just shy of 2 pounds, we kept all of the other staples at full value. As far as the herbs, we used a combination of chives and tarragon freshly picked from the garden.

NOTES: Don’t forget to allow the butter to soften. Make sure to line the baking sheet with foil (which I forgot to do).

Butter-Roasted Cabbage with Citrus and Mustard

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. coriander seeds, lightly crushed
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1 tsp. grated grapefruit OR lemon zest, plus a 1/2 cup of its juice
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 4 Tbsp. salted butter, cut into 1-tablespoon pieces and softened
  • 2-lb. head of savoy OR napa cabbage, tough outer leaves removes, quartered
  • 2 Tbsp. whole grain mustard OR Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon OR fresh chives OR fresh flat-leaf parsley OR a combination

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 475°F with a rack in the middle position. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the coriander, garlic, zest and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
  3. Using your hands and 1 tablespoon of butter per cabbage wedge, rub the butter on all sides and into the layers. Sprinkle the wedges evenly with the spice mixture, rubbing it in to adhere, reserve the bowl.
  4. Place cabbage wedges cut side down on the prepared baking sheet. Cover tightly with foil and roast until a skewer inserted into the thickest part meets little resistance, 20 to 30 minutes.
  5. Uncover the baking sheet and roast until the cabbage is deeply browned on all sides, about 15 minutes more, flipping halfway through.
  6. Meanwhile in the reserved bowl, whisk together the citrus juice, mustard, honey, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.
  7. Place wedges on a platter and drizzle each with 1 tablespoon of the sauce. Sprinkle with chopped herbs and serve with any remaining sauce on the side.

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Adapted from a recipe in Milk Street’s “Vegetables” cookbook.

Corn Sauté with Miso and Scallions

To create this corn side dish with rich, toasted flavor, strip the corn from the cobs when they are raw and then cook the kernels in a nearly smoking skillet. It is important not to stir the corn for a few minutes to give it a chance to brown. Once the corn is cooked, mix in plenty of salty, savory ingredients to balance the sweetness. Finally, an acidic component rounds out the dish.

Because fresh corn can vary in sweetness, the recipe calls for seasoning with a range of rice vinegar. We made it twice so far, and prefer the version with just 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar. When browning the corn kernels in a nonstick skillet, we found it took longer to get that caramelization, nearly three times longer! But so worth it because it was delicious and paired well with our grilled baby back ribs.

Corn Sauté with Miso and Scallions

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 6 scallions, white parts minced, green parts sliced thin on bias
  • 1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 2 Tbsp. white miso
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 4 ears corn, kernels cut from cobs (4 cups)
  • Salt
  • 1 Tbsp. mirin
  • 1 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds

Directions

  1. Melt butter in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add scallion whites and ginger and cook, stirring frequently, until scallions are softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer scallion mixture to large bowl and whisk in miso and 1 tablespoon vinegar. Wipe out skillet.
  2. Heat oil in now-empty skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add corn and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, without stirring, until corn is browned on bottom and beginning to pop, about 3-5 minutes. Stir and continue to cook, stirring once or twice, until corn is spotty brown all over, 2 to 3 minutes longer.
  3. Add mirin and cook until evaporated, about 1 minute. Transfer corn to bowl with scallion mixture.
  4. Stir in scallion greens. Season with salt and remaining vinegar to taste. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.

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Recipe from Cook’s Illustrated

Frijoles Charros (Mexican Pinto Beans With Bacon and Chiles)

Quite possibly the best baked beans we’ve ever eaten! Invited to a Cinco de Mayo party, we were assigned a couple of side dishes to make, one of them being “Cowboy Beans”. The Hubs found this Mexican Pinto Beans With Bacon and Chiles by J. Kenji Lopez-Alts for Serious Eats and knew these were the ticket.

The ideal potluck or cookout dish is one that is easy to make in bulk, inexpensive, and doesn’t degrade with extended heating or reheating. We found the frijoles charros—Mexican cowboy beans cooked with onions, garlic, tomatoes, salted pork, and chiles—as the superb potluck dish. It meets the criteria and they’re extremely delicious. Dried beans are lightweight; while onions, garlic, chiles, and fresh or tinned tomatoes last a long time at room temperature.

We made two exceptions to the ingredients. The first was substituting cranberry beans in place of the pinto beans, which we think have more flavor. Secondly, the jalapeños were sautéed and kept as a garnish because we knew one guest was allergic to any type of chile. WOW, the beans got rave reviews!

*Epazote is a Mexican herb that can be found in Mexican specialty shops. If fresh epazote is unavailable, use a large pinch of dried in its place, or omit.

Mexican Pinto Beans With Bacon and Chiles

  • Servings: 8-12
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 lb. dried pinto beans
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 cups homemade or store-bought chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs epazote, optional*
  • 12 oz. diced bacon
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion, diced (about 8 oz.)
  • 2 serrano chiles or 1 jalapeño, minced (remove seeds and ribs if you prefer less heat)
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 1 Tbsp.)
  • 2 14-oz. cans diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • Large handful chopped fresh cilantro leaves and fine stems

Directions

  1. Place beans in a large bowl and fill with enough cold water to cover by at least four inches. Add 2 tablespoons (18g) kosher salt and stir to dissolve. Let soak 8 to 12 hours. Drain and rinse.
  2. In a large Dutch oven, add beans, stock, bay leaves, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and epazote (if using). Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a bare simmer, cover, and cook until beans are just tender, about 45 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat bacon in a 12-inch stainless steel or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until fat is rendered and bacon is just starting to brown around the edges, about 5 minutes. Add onion and chiles and cook, stirring, until softened and just starting to brown, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring and scraping up browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until the liquid is thick and the mixture begins to sizzle, about 3 minutes.
  4. Remove lid from Dutch oven, add bacon-tomato mixture, and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until beans are completely creamy and liquid has thickened into a rich, creamy broth, about 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Discard bay leaves, stir in cilantro, and serve. Beans can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

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Recipe by J. Kenji Lopez-Alts for Serious Eats

Braised Asparagus with Lemon and Chives

Here, braising coaxes asparagus’s gentler side into the spotlight. It’s not the typical crisp-tender, not browned, nor vibrant green—but it may end up being one of your favorite ways to cook the spears. The vegetable is vigorously simmered in a copious amount of liquid, allowing the braising liquid to evaporate, leaving behind a light glaze that coats the asparagus.

As Cook’s Illustrated mentions, the crisp bite gives way to silkiness; the fresh vegetal flavor evolves into more-complex sweet nuttiness, and the braising liquid can travel into the spears, seasoning them inside and out.

The dish is finished with a less-is-more approach adding just a splash of acidity and a handsome sprinkle of fresh herbs to accentuate the vegetable’s sweet flavor.

FYI, this recipe is best with asparagus spears that are at least ¾ inch thick. We bought ours picked fresh at a local farm market. The benefit of thicker spears is you can peel off their firm, waxy skin without whittling them down to toothpicks.

Braised Asparagus with Lemon and Chives

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 lb. thick asparagus
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ tsp. table salt
  • ¼ tsp. grated lemon zest plus 1 tsp. juice
  • 2 tsp. minced fresh chives, divided

Directions

  1.  Trim bottom inch of asparagus spears; discard trimmings. Peel bottom two-thirds of spears until white flesh is exposed.
  2. Bring water, broth, oil, and salt to simmer in 12-inch skillet over high heat. Add asparagus in even layer. Reduce heat to maintain vigorous simmer and cover. Cook, gently shaking skillet occasionally, until asparagus is tender and can be easily pierced with tip of paring knife, 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Remove lid and continue to cook, shaking and swirling skillet, until skillet is almost dry and asparagus is glazed, 1 to 3 minutes longer.
  4. Off heat, add lemon zest and juice and half of chives and toss to coat.
  5. Transfer asparagus to platter, sprinkle with remaining chives, season with salt to taste, and serve.

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Paprika-Parmesan Smashed Potatoes

Paprika-Parmesan Smashed Potatoes with Garlic Aioli: the ultimate roasted potato side dish. Incredibly crispy, superbly spiced, and served with a downright addictive dipping sauce; although we opted to forego the aioli this time around.

The combination of bold spices and a garlicky dipping sauce really brings the humble potato to life. While this method involves boiling, smashing, and then roasting, you won’t believe how crispy the potatoes get for being roasted rather than deep-fried. Smashed potatoes are the perfect alternative when you’re craving crispy potatoes, but want something a bit more wholesome than French fries.

They paired beautifully with our Crispy Chicken Under a Brick, and a side of silky Braised Asparagus.

Paprika-Parmesan Smashed Potatoes

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1.5 lbs baby yellow potatoes
  • 2 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 1 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil (sub avocado oil)
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (or avocado oil mayo)
  • 2 Tbsp. plain full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh chives, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450ºF. Place garlic cloves in a piece of a foil and drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Wrap the garlic in foil and place in the oven while it preheats. Continue roasting garlic while you boil the potatoes.
  2. Place the potatoes in a large pot, and cover with one inch of cold water. Add 2 teaspoons salt and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, set the timer for 15 minutes. At this point, the potatoes should be just past fork-tender. Drain potatoes in a colander and let sit for 5 minutes to allow water to completely drain off. Remove garlic from the oven and set aside. (Keep oven temperature at 450ºF)
  3. In a small bowl, combine smoked paprika, oregano, garlic powder, black pepper, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; mix well. Drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil on your largest baking sheet, making sure to coat all corners. Arrange potatoes on baking sheet, making sure to leave about 2 inches of space in between each one.
  4. Use the bottom of a measuring cup or a potato masher to gently “smash” each potato down until it is around 1/2-inch thick. Brush remaining 2 tablespoons oil over tops of potatoes and sprinkle with spice mixture. Roast potatoes for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove garlic from foil and roughly chop. Use the flat side of your knife blade (preferably a chef’s knife) to mash the garlic until it forms a paste. Add garlic to a bowl, along with mayonnaise, yogurt, 1 tablespoon. chopped chives, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix well to combine.
  6. Remove potatoes from the oven and sprinkle each one evenly with Parmesan. Place back in the oven for 5 more minutes.Transfer potatoes to a platter and garnish with extra chopped chives. Serve with garlic aioli.

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Adapted from a recipe found on dishingouthealth.com

Roasted Butternut Squash with Tahini and Za’atar

This may be a new cool weather side dish favorite. A recipe from Milk Street, it combines roasted butternut squash and red onion, then finishes them with a tahini-lemon-garlic sauce and a dusting of za’atar—a Middle Eastern herb, spice and seed blend.

Before roasting, the squash and onion are tossed with olive oil and honey to encourage browning. After sprinkling on the za’atar, you scatter on chopped parsley or basil chiffonade for color and fresh, herbal notes.

Don’t worry if the pieces of squash are in different shapes; this is unavoidable. But when cutting the squash quarters crosswise, be sure they’re no thicker than ¾ inch and that the chunks don’t measure larger than 1½ inches in any dimension or they’ll take too long to roast.

We had less than half a red onion on hand, so we threw in a small shallot to help compensate. But the onion was so good roasted, that I want to make sure to have a large whole one when we make it again.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Tahini and Za'atar

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 lbs. butternut squash, peeled, quartered lengthwise, seeded and cut crosswise ¾-inch thick
  • 1 medium red onion, root end intact, cut into 1-inch wedges
  • 2 Tbsp. tahini
  • 4 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 medium garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1 tsp. za’atar
  • ¼ cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped, or lightly packed fresh basil, cut into thin ribbons

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 475°F with a rack in the lower-middle position. In a large bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons oil, the honey and ½ teaspoon salt. Add the squash and onion, then use your hands to rub the mixture over the vegetables until well coated.
  2. Distribute in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes. Using a wide metal spatula, flip the vegetables, then roast until nicely browned and a skewer inserted into the squash meets no resistance, 12 to 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 teaspoon oil, the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, ¼ teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon water; the mixture should have the consistency of thin yogurt (if too thick, whisk in additional water 1 teaspoon at a time to thin). Set aside.
  4. When the vegetables are done, transfer them to a serving platter. Drizzle with the tahini-lemon mixture, then sprinkle with the za’atar and parsley.

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Adapted from a recipe from Milk Street

Warm Farro with Lemon and Herbs

For this dish, use whole farro, in which the grain’s germ and bran have been retained. It has a nutty flavor and delicately chewy texture, and some brands cook in as little as 20 minutes, making it one of the fastest-cooking whole grains. (Ours took 30 minutes.)

The simplest cooking method is best: Just boil in salted water for about 20-30 minutes until tender and drain well. Warm farro can be tossed with sautéed aromatics, olive oil and herbs for a simple but satisfying side dish such as this one. It went wonderfully with our Shawarma Chicken.

We were fresh out of mint, so in lieu of making an extra trip to the grocery store, we just substituted two tablespoons of fresh oregano, which was one of the herbs in our main chicken entrée.

Warm Farro with Lemon and Herbs

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1⁄2 cups whole farro
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice

Directions

  1. Bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a Dutch oven. Add farro and 1 tablespoon salt, return to boil, and cook until grains are tender with a slight chew, 20-30 minutes. Drain farro, return to now empty pot, and cover to keep warm.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat, until shimmering. Add onion and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is softened and slightly golden, 6 to 8 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil and cooked farro, stirring frequently until heated through, 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in parsley, mint, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

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Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook

Crispy Parmesan Potatoes

Tasty spuds are always a welcome side dish at our table. Here, melted parmesan cheese takes these roasted potatoes to a whole new level. They’re foolproof and taste delicious with just about everything.

If there was such a thing as a Potato Olympics, these babies would be sure to medal. Just make them, you’ll be glad you did…

Crispy Parmesan Potatoes

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs. fingerling potatoes, about 30 potatoes
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 oz. Parmesan cheese, about 1 cup
  • 6 sprigs fresh parsley, stemmed and chopped

Directions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Cut 1 1/2 pounds fingerling potatoes in half lengthwise. Place in a roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Toss to combine. Arrange the potatoes in single layer cut-side down.
  3. Roast until the bottoms are starting to turn golden-brown, about 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, finely grate 2 ounces Parmesan cheese (about 1 lightly packed cup). Pick the leaves from 5 to 6 fresh parsley sprigs and finely chop until you have about 2 tablespoons.
  5. Carefully flip over each potato with tongs or a thin metal spatula so they are now cut-side up. Sprinkle the Parmesan over the potatoes. (It’s OK if some fall onto the pan.) Roast until the potatoes are cooked through and the cheese is crisp and golden-brown, about 10 minutes more. Sprinkle with the parsley before serving.

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Recipe from TheKtchn.com

Braised Red Potatoes with Miso and Scallions

For a simple, one-pot potato side dish that features the benefits of both boiling and roasting, Cook’s Illustrated got creative. They combined halved small red potatoes, butter, and salted water in a 12-inch skillet and simmered this mixture until the potatoes turned creamy and the water fully evaporated.

In the then-dry skillet, the potatoes and butter were left alone to fry and develop great flavor and color. Finally, subtle aromatics like thyme and garlic balance well with last-minute additions like miso, Dijon or lemon juice.

Our only issue was that the miso mixture wasn’t loose enough to spread with the hot potatoes. We suggest removing the potatoes to a bowl when done. *Put the miso-garlic mixture in the hot skillet and add two tablespoons of water. Using a wooden spatula, combine the mixture and water while scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. When fully combined, pour the sauce over the potatoes, add scallions, and toss gently before serving.

NOTE: We had to use a 14-inch regular skillet because it was the only pan large enough to fit all of the potatoes in one layer, plus it had a lid. This dilemma prompted us to purchase an adjustable lid to fit our two larger nonstick skillets.

Braised Red Potatoes with Miso and Scallions

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 ½ pounds small red potatoes, unpeeled, halved
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. red miso, Dijon or lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • ¼ cup minced scallions

Directions

  1. Arrange potatoes in single layer, cut side down, in 12-inch nonstick skillet. Add water, butter, garlic, thyme, and salt and bring to simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer until potatoes are just tender, about 15 minutes.
  2. Remove lid and use slotted spoon to transfer garlic to cutting board; discard thyme. Increase heat to medium-high and vigorously simmer, swirling pan occasionally, until water evaporates and butter starts to sizzle, 15 to 20 minutes. When cool enough to handle, mince garlic to paste. Transfer paste to bowl and stir in lemon juice and pepper.
  3. Continue to cook potatoes, swirling pan frequently, until butter browns and cut sides of potatoes turn spotty brown, 4 to 6 minutes longer. Off heat, add garlic mixture and chives and toss to thoroughly coat. (*See note above about alternative way to coat potatoes with miso mixture.) Serve immediately.

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Recipe from Cook’s Illustrated

Braised Leeks; Two Options

In the allium family, leeks are the tallest and offer the sweet taste of onion but with an earthier, grassy herbal character, and we love them! This first Braised Leeks with Bacon and Thyme recipe hailing from Molly Stevens “All About Braising” cookbook braises the leeks slowly in chicken broth until they collapse into blessed tenderness.

As Molly describes, braising reveals all of their goodness and brings out a complexity of flavor that would be lost by boiling or steaming. They are infinitely versatile and made a perfect accompaniment to our roasted chicken dinner. Serve them hot, warm, at room temperature or even a little chilled. They’ll keep for several days in the refrigerator.

Option number two is a vegetarian dish from Milk Street. Braised Leeks with Balsamic Glaze are meltingly tender. They are poached in olive oil and water then drizzled with a tangy-sweet balsamic glaze. The vegetable retains its mild spring onion flavor with none of the raw allium pungency—a wonderful example of letting the natural flavor of an ingredient shine through!

Leeks are at their best in the fall and winter. Shop for leeks that feel solid at the base, not at all squishy. The green top portion should be dark, not dried out. Inspect the white portion to see that it’s smooth and bright, not split or slimy. Late-season leeks may have developed solid woody cores, an indication it is way past their prime, and shouldn’t be purchased.

Braised Leeks with Bacon and Thyme

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
  • 1 tsp. butter
  • 4 to 5 lbs. medium to large leeks
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and cut lengthwise in half
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme (do not substitute dried)
  • 1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1/2 lemon

Directions

  1. Place the bacon in a medium skillet, set over medium heat, and fry, stirring often with a slotted spoon, until mostly crisp but with some softness remaining, 8-10 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels to drain, and set the skillet aside.
  2. Preheat the over to 325°F. Butter a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. (We didn’t have as many leeks so we used a 9×9 square dish.)
  3. With a large knife trim off the root end of each leek, but leave the base intact. Get rid of the heaviest green part and any tough white parts. Cut off the tops at the point where the green turns from pale and smooth to dark and leathery.
  4. Cut the leeks lengthwise in half, without cutting completely through the root end, Wash the leeks thoroughly, holding them upside down under cold running water and flaring the layers to let the water run through to remove all the sand.
  5. Shake off the excess water and place them in one layer in the prepared baking dish. Tuck the garlic halves in the dish and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Sprinkle on the thyme.
  6. Pour off as much fat from the reserved bacon skillet, without discarding the bacon drippings. Place over high heat, add the stock, and bring to a boil to deglaze the pan, scraping with a wooden spoon. Pour the hot stock over the leeks.
  7. Cover the dish tightly with foil and place on a rack in the lower third of the oven. Braise for 30 minutes.
  8. Turn the leeks over with tongs, and continue braising uncovered until the leeks are fork tender, another 15-25 minutes. Scatter the reserved bacon over the leeks and continue braising for an additional 15 minutes, or until the leeks are soft enough to be easily pierced with the tip of a knife.
  9. With tongs and a slotted spoon, transfer the leeks and bacon to a platter, and cover with foil to keep warm. Pour any remaining juices, along with those from the platter, into a skillet and reduce down to 1/4 cup. Add a generous squeeze of lemon, taste for salt and pepper, and simply pour over the leeks. Serve warm or room temperature.

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Braised Leeks with Balsamic Glaze

You want to make sure not to stir the leeks too vigorously or too often when browning them. Stir gently just once or twice, without flipping them, so they color evenly. And once the water goes into the pan and the cover goes on, it’s best to simply shake the skillet, not stir its contents, so the leeks hold together.

These leeks just melted in the mouth! We omitted the sliced almonds for this meal; and next time we would cut the glaze in half. Although it was very good, we didn’t even use all of it and it was still a lot.

Braised Leeks with Basamic Glaze

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 lb. leeks, white and light green parts only, outer layers removed
  • 2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. salted butter, cut into 2 pieces
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 6 thyme sprigs, plus 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 3 Tbsp. sliced almonds, toasted (optional)

Directions

  1. Cut the leeks in half lengthwise. Fill a large bowl with water, submerge the leek halves and swish them around to remove the grit between the layers. Pour off the water and repeat until the leeks are clean, then pat dry. Cut the leeks on the diagonal into 2-inch sections, keeping the layers intact as much as possible.
  2. In a 12-inch skillet, combine the oil, butter and leeks, adding them to the pan cut side down. Set the pan over medium-high and cook, gently stirring only once or twice so the layers do not separate, until the leeks are lightly browned, 4 to 6 minutes.
  3. Add ¼ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper, then slowly add ⅔ cup water. Add the thyme sprigs, cover and reduce to medium-low. Cook, occasionally shaking the skillet, until a knife inserted into the leeks meets no resistance and most of the water has evaporated, about 20 minutes.
  4. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the leeks to a platter, leaving the oil in the skillet. Remove and discard the thyme sprigs. Add the vinegar and honey to the pan, then cook over medium, stirring often, until the mixture is syrupy, 2 to 4 minutes.
  5. Taste and season with salt and pepper, then pour over the leeks. Sprinkle with the chopped thyme and the almonds, if using.

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Beer-Braised Cabbage

To pump up the flavors of the braising liquid in this Beer-Braised Cabbage, Cook’s Country chose a light-bodied lager. They also used beer-complementing ingredients like sautéed onion, mustard, vinegar, and thyme. To ensure the cabbage doesn’t overcook from extended simmering, the braising liquid is simmered until slightly thickened before adding the cabbage.

We paired the cabbage with a pan-seared pork chop and braised red potatoes with miso and scallions.

A great side dish that’s quick enough for a weeknight. You can substitute ¼ teaspoon of dried thyme for the fresh. This hearty side dish was a nice complement to the pork, although you can serve it as a vegetarian side.

Beer-Braised Cabbage

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • ½ cup beer, preferably light-bodied lager
  • 1 Tbsp. whole grain mustard
  • ½ tsp. minced fresh thyme
  • 1 small head green cabbage (about 1 lb.), halved, cored, and sliced thin
  • 2 tsp. cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook onion until softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in beer, mustard, and thyme and simmer until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add cabbage and vinegar and cook covered, stirring occasionally, until wilted and tender, about 8 minutes.
  4. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

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Recipe from Cook’s Country

Cheesy Italian Baked Beans

Flexible in that this Cheesy Italian Baked Beans recipe could be your main dish, or part of a meal as a side. Here, traditional Italian ingredients like onion, garlic, tomatoes, cheese, and rosemary put a spin on classic baked beans.

The prep is minimal and afterward it only cooks in the oven for about 20 minutes. When it came to topping the casserole with the shredded fontina cheese, I may have put a bit more than the 1/2 cup that was called for… like 50% more 🙂

I added a final step of letting the casserole sit for 5-10 minutes after removing from the oven. We paired the entrée with a side of steamed broccolini and a toasted whole grain baguette with garlic and parmesan.

Cheesy Italian Baked Beans

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped yellow onion 
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 28-oz. can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes, undrained
  • ¼ cup fresh rosemary leaves, coarsely chopped, plus additional for garnish
  • 3 15-oz. cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¾ cup shredded Parmesan cheese 
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup cup shredded Fontina cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large skillet heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, and 1/8 tsp. salt. Cook and stir for 5 minutes or until tender.
  2. Stir in tomatoes and rosemary. Bring to boiling; boil gently, uncovered, 5 minutes or until slightly thickened.
  3. Stir in beans and half the Parmesan. Season to taste with crushed red pepper, salt, and black pepper. Transfer to a 2-qt. rectangular baking dish. Top with remaining Parmesan and the Fontina. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until beginning to lightly brown around the edges.
  4. Remove from the oven and let sit for 5-10 minutes to thicken.
  5. Sprinkle with additional rosemary before serving.

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Adapted from a recipe in Fine Cooking Magazine

Red Cabbage Glazed with Maple Syrup

This recipe, published in The Times in 1991, was adapted from Yves Labbé, the chef at Le Cheval d’Or, a restaurant in Jeffersonville, Vt., that showcased French country cooking. Mr. Labbé was known to serve this side dish alongside quail in a red-wine sauce, and its simple instructions belie depths of flavor. The cabbage cooks down, braising in its own juices, while the sweetness of the apples and maple syrup, a Vermont staple, tones down the bitterness of the cabbage. The result has broad appeal. —Marialisa Calta

We decided to pair it with a tasty and moist Sous Vide Pork Loin which came out of it’s immersion bath at just the right temperature, then was seared on all sides to achieve a golden crust…. but I’m getting ahead of myself… now about this cabbage dish.

It’s quite easy actually. Spend a bit of prep time chopping or mincing the first four ingredients. Next several minutes are spent sautéing the bacon and onion. Everything else now goes in the Dutch oven, the pot is covered and put in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.

The dish was incredibly good. We did notice however quite a bit of liquid in the bottom of the pot and thought perhaps next time we’d reduce the amount of maple syrup by half, using only a 1/4 cup instead of a 1/2 cup. Which would appeal to our preference for more savory than sweet.

Red Cabbage Glazed with Maple Syrup

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 5 slices bacon, minced
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 medium firm, tart apple, peeled, quartered, cored and sliced
  • 1 lb. red cabbage (about 1/2 head), cored, outer leaves removed and shredded
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • Salt and black pepper

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. In an ovenproof saucepan or Dutch oven large enough to hold all of the ingredients, sauté the bacon over medium until crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 more minutes.
  2. Add the apple, cabbage, bay leaf, maple syrup, and season with salt and pepper, cover, and transfer to the oven. Bake for 30 minutes.
  3. Serve hot.

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Recipe by Yves Labbé for NY Times Cooking

Lemon-Rosemary Melting Potatoes

“These full-flavored potatoes are a great new approach to your typical potato side dish. The potatoes roast, then “melt” with the flavors of lemon, rosemary and garlic. They’re good enough for a special occasion, but easy enough for a weeknight.”
EatingWell

We paired our potatoes with a sous vide, pan-seared steak and spinach sautéed with garlic and olive oil.

The original recipe indicates the potatoes will serve six. They were so good, we barely got three portions from them, so I would plan on a maximum of four servings.

A word to the wise, DO NOT use glass or stone bakeware. When it’s time to add the broth and lemon, even though the liquids are room temperature, there’s a high likelihood the very hot dish will crack, trust us on this one. Either a metal pan or enameled cast-iron one are good choices. Ideally, the pan should have a wide enough bottom to accommodate the potato slices arranged in a single layer.

Lemon-Rosemary Melting Potatoes

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced 1 inch thick 
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary, plus more for garnish
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground pepper
  • ¾ cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • ¼ cup lemon juice 
  • 2 Tbsp. sliced garlic

Directions

  1. Position rack in upper third of the oven; preheat to 500 degrees F.
  2. Toss potatoes, butter, oil, rosemary, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer in a 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan. (Don’t use a glass dish, which could shatter.) Roast, turning once, until browned, about 30 minutes.
  3. Carefully add broth, lemon juice and garlic to the pan. Continue roasting until most of the liquid is absorbed and the potatoes are very tender, 10 to 12 minutes more.
  4. Garnish with additional rosemary.

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Recipe from EatingWell Magazine

Braised Sweet Potatoes with Coriander and Orange

This colorful side dish features an unusual combination of flavors; the inspiration comes from a recipe in “365,” a cookbook by German food blogger Meike Peters. Earthy sweet potatoes pair well with the subtle citrusy notes of coriander and the fruitiness of orange juice, while savory onion, spicy cayenne and salty olives balance the natural sugars. Although we skipped the olives altogether this time in reference to the rest of the meal.

We love the texture and flavor pop of lightly crushed coriander seeds; a mortar and pestle are the best tools for the task but the bottom of a heavy skillet works, too; OR put them in a small ziploc and mash with a heavy meat club. If you prefer, you can use 1 tablespoon ground coriander in place of the seeds, but it will require less than a minute to bloom in the oil.

Don’t use a narrow saucepan or pot for this recipe. The wider diameter of a Dutch oven allows the potatoes to be distributed in a thinner layer, which results in more even cooking. If you like sweet potatoes, you’ll LOVE this amped-up version of the colorful spuds.

Braised Sweet Potatoes with Coriander and Orange

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. coriander seeds, lightly crushed
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 lbs. orange-flesh sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup black or green pitted olives, or a mixture, chopped (optional)

Directions

  1. In a Dutch oven over medium-high, cook the oil and coriander seeds, stirring, until fragrant and sizzling, 2 to 4 minutes. Add the onion and ¼ teaspoon salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes.
  2. Add the sweet potatoes, orange juice, cayenne, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper and ½ cup water. Bring to a simmer, cover and reduce to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until a skewer inserted into the potatoes meets no resistance, 8 to 11 minutes.
  3. Uncover and cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid has almost fully reduced and the potatoes are glazed, about 2 minutes. Off heat, stir in the olives, if using. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

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Recipe by Albert Stumm for Milk Street