Sunday, April 24, 2011

Root vegetable braise (p. 246) and Beer, cheese, and scallion bread (p. 629)

I think a lot of people probably pass right by Root vegetable braise (p. 246) because of...well...because of the root vegetables. They aren't your normal, everyday root veggies, like potatoes or carrots.

These root vegetables: Turnips, rutabaga, and celery root:

are just not as popular as potatoes and carrots. I decided to post a before and after shot because I figure not everyone even knows what they look like. Turnips and rutabaga can easily be peeled with a normal veggie peeler. Celery root is more of a pain. I just chop at it with a knife. The naked veggies:

I heated olive oil, butter, a bay leaf, and thyme in a stock pot (I was supposed to use a sprig of thyme but I didn't have any):

I added diced onions and cooked until they started to brown. I then added four large mushrooms (creminis, if you are interested) and some garlic:

It was all cooked for a few minutes and I added wine. After the wine had boiled down to a syrup, I added turnips, rutabaga, celery root, a little flour, and some salt, along with some chicken stock:

I simmered it all until tender:

I added a little Dijon mustard and heavy cream (TJOC's two favorite ingredients):

This is a great introduction to underutilized root vegetables. It was delicious and flavorful, although I would add a little more flour in the future, because I think it needed to be thicker. I think the braise would be great on couscous. It's mentioned that you could also add sunchokes (Jerusalem artichokes), artichoke hearts, fennel, or salsify, so it's a great use for that stuff in your CSA box that you have no idea how to use.

On a whim, I decided to make Beer, cheese, and scallion bread (p. 629).

I mixed together whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, rolled oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt:

I added in light beer (Miller High Life, if you were wondering, the Champagne of beers):

I stirred in finely diced Monterey Jack, sliced scallions, and caraway seeds and poured it in to a loaf pan:

It was popped in the oven:

I'll admit, I was doomed to not like this recipe. I don't like whole grain bread so those oats were going to be a problem. I particularly don't like whole wheat. And this bread was plenty whole-grainy, so for those of you who like that, this bread will probably be a winner. It also had a heavy, heavy, heavy beer taste that I didn't particularly love either. On top of all that, it seemed sort of salty to me.

Random facts:
  • Beer bread is based on the idea that both beer and bread have a common element in yeast (Wikipedia)
  • Miller High Life is considered the "Champagne of beers" because of the high carbonation level (like champagne!) (Wikipedia)
  • Miller High Life has been around since 1903
  • Celery root is also called Celeriac (On Food and Cooking, p. 309)
  • The rutabaga results from a cross between turnips and cabbage (OFaC, p. 316)

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