Alain Ducasse is a hero of mine. On a blustery day not long ago, my wife, Pardis, and I had the pleasure of dining at one of his Paris restaurants. We were served pristine cold-weather vegetables and fruits simmered in their own syrupy juices. The dish was elegant yet rustic and healthy. All the components were beautiful—the tender pink of the glazed radishes with their pale green stems, the bluish turnips, and the most orange of carrots. The surprise of the fruit with the root vegetables was a revelation.
My version of the dish came about after a visit to our friend Michael’s farm, where the fertile earth yielded a late-fall crop of beautiful little leeks, vibrant beets, small sweet carrots, and a variety of radishes and turnips. Every season inspires its own combination: Spring finds asparagus, young peas, and bulb onions, perhaps with a few morels; summer offers corn, tomatoes, butter beans, and perhaps peaches. The combinations are subtle and endless.–Frank Stitt
LC Count Your Blessings Note
The ease and versatility of this little number make it a swell side that you can not only commit to memory, but tweak at will come the various seasons. Whatever veggies you venture to toss together, we’d wager they’ll taste pretty nifty alongside this boozy Madeira-bathed beauty of a hen.
Autumn Vegetable Ragout Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 1 H
- 1 H, 50 M
- Serves 4
- 4 baby beets (preferably in varying colors), washed, stems trimmed to 1/2 inch
- About 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Sherry vinegar
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 cipollini onions, peeled
- 8 yellow or red pearl onions, blanched in boiling water for 1 minute, trimmed, and peeled
- 4 baby carrots
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Pinch granulated sugar
- About 2 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and cut into 8 wedges
- 4 fingerling potatoes, scrubbed, quartered lengthwise, and cooked in boiling salted water until tender
- 2 small turnips, peeled, quartered, and cooked in boiling salted water until tender
- 1 large parsnip, peeled, halved lengthwise, cut into 2-inch lengths, and cooked in boiling salted water until tender
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
- 2. Place the beets in a small baking pan and season them with about 2 tablespoons olive oil, a splash of sherry vinegar, and salt and pepper. Cover with foil and bake until tender, 25 to 35 minutes. Let cool. Slip the skins off the roasted beets and discard. Cut the beets into quarters and trim the ends.
- 3. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the cipollini onions, pearl onions, carrots, 1 tablespoon butter, sugar, and salt to taste. Add just enough water to the pan to sorta halfway submerge the vegetables and bring to a simmer. Cook until the vegetables are tender and glazed, about 15 minutes; if the liquid evaporates before the veggies turn tender, add a splash more water and continue cooking.
- 4. Add the apples to the vegetables in the pan and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the potatoes, turnips, parsnips, and beets, and warm thoroughly. There should be 3 to 4 tablespoons of the liquid remaining; add a little water if necessary. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, the lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter until melted, then taste and adjust the amount of oil, juice, vinegar, salt, and pepper accordingly.
- 5. Spoon the ragout and its juices into shallow bowls.
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Autumn Vegetable Ragout Recipe © 2004 Frank Stitt. All rights reserved.
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