Fall Vegetable Braise

This dish is an amalgamation of what many consider to be rustic flavors that combine to make a very elegant dish that has big, deep flavors. This dish was inspired by porcini I found growing outside my cabin door one Thanksgiving at Lake Tahoe.

This dish is flexible in that you can substitute or omit various ingredients. Asparagus not in stores? Omit it. Can’t find porcini? Substitute another mushroom. Don’t omit too many things, though, or the dish loses too much character.

INGREDIENTS:

1 onion, medium dice
3 cloves garlic, peeled, de-germed and minced
2 large parsnips, cut into ½ inch thick coins
3 medium carrots, cut into ½ inch coins
½ lb. porcini mushrooms cut into ½ inch cubes
½ lb. medium button mushrooms, quartered
2 medium sunchokes, sliced into ½ inch thick coins
2 cups roasted chestnuts
1 medium turnip, peeled and halved horizontally, cut into 12 wedges
½ cup blanched asparagus, pencil thin and cut 1½ inch long
1 cup rich vegetable stock
Thyme
1 bay leaf
1 small sprig each oregano and rosemary
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
White truffle oil (afew drops)
Olive oil, or vegetable oil, as needed
1 tablespoon, plus more as needed, unsalted butter
White wine or water as needed

METHOD:

In oil, sauté onions until soft. When soft, add garlic and cook until soft and fragrant. Transfer to ovenproof pot with a lid.

In the same pan, sauté carrots and parsnips to brown both sides and transfer to pot. Add oil as needed.

Without adding oil, start sautéing porcini. When they start to wilt, add a ½ tablespoon of butter and cook until aroma comes up and mushrooms are no longer rubbery. Transfer to pot.

Cook buttons in the same manner. If liquid seems necessary use white wine or water. Transfer to pot when cooked through.

Brown sunchokes on both sides and add to pot.

Brown chestnuts in a little butter until fragrant. Transfer to pot.

Deglaze pan with stock, add herbs and reduce volume to come just below the top of the vegetables. Stir the vegetables, add the asparagus and season. Drizzle with truffle oil and cover and bake in 350°F oven until vegetables are tender and flavors are robust.

If there is a lot of liquid strain and reduce (boil down) the liquid until thickened.

Check seasoning and adjust if needed. Drizzle with truffle oil and serve.

YIELD: Serves 6-8 as a side dish.

*You can use other mushrooms like morels, chanterelles, or even shiitakes which are readily available at the store.