Hot Cheesy Vegetables for a Cold Winter Night
From Alex at Ombailamos:
The latest produce box contained a nice head of green cabbage and one lonely fennel bulb. Last night they made beautiful music together.
Cleaned and sliced the vegetables, and braised them together in a bit of bacon fat and a little butter, over medium-low heat, for about 25 minutes. Then, I turned the heat down to very low and the cheesy goodness was assembled. First, I made a well in the middle of the veg and poured in a small quantity of cream. Into the cream I added a can of mushroom paté (looks like cat food, smells like mushroomy heaven) and mixed that to smoothness, then tossed all the veg in it. At this point I added a generous amount of smoked paprika and a little nutmeg; Mr. P added some black pepper to his at the table.
Next, I made the well again and poured in another puddle of cream. Into the cream I deposited a generous handful of shredded fresh gruyere cheese. That melted quickly and then I tossed all the veg again.
Finally, I added most of a package of bacon, previously sliced into 1/2 inch strips and cooked, and mixed everything up.
Cooking proficiency required: very little.
This is not an inexpensive dish, even though the main ingredients are $3 worth of vegetables, because of the bacon (I buy uncured bacon) and Swiss cheese. BUT - highly nutritious, extremely delicious (if you like mac-n-cheese, you would like this), zero starch, and did I mention yum?
Note: "real" chefs make a roux (a sauce base of butter, flour, and milk) when they are building a cheese sauce. The purpose is to create a creamy sauce that won't separate on you when you re-heat it.
That's something I'll learn how to do eventually, but in my experience we either eat all of what I've made in one sitting or we just don't care if the sauce separates. Also, it's an extra pan and an extra step, and I believe I've mentioned before that in my kitchen, "simple" is the key ingredient.
** I'm going to point out here that Alex is specifying and using whole, natural foods that weren't cooked up in a lab. Real cream, real butter. The tastes your body craves. Meaning it will be satisfied with LESS!
***Extra Bonus: 5 Mouthwatering Pies, courtesy of Mother Nature Network. Enjoy!