Monday, June 24, 2019

BRAISED CELERY RECIPE

John? Celery? Really? As a main ingredient?  Are you wack?  Yes, I am wack.  But this celery thing is grub.

This MUCH overlooked veggie deserves the spotlight sometimes.  I thought we'd braise some with a crispy topping.  It turned out great.  Much more complex that you'd ever know.  And totally budget conscious.


2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 head celery (about 1 3/4 pounds)
1 large shallot or yellow onion, finely minced (about 1/4 cup)
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
1/4 cup dry white vermouth
1 cup stock.  I used a veg stock
1/3 cup freshly grated  Parmigiano-Reggiano (the real stuff)
3 to 4 tablespoons fresh bread crumbs


Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Using about half the butter, generously butter a large gratin dish or baking dish (9- to 10-by-13- to 14-inch).

 Washing and trimming the celery: Tear the celery stalks from the head. You should have about 10 or 12 sturdy outer stalks. Stop tearing off the stalks when you reach the shorter, pale, tender stalks, or the heart. Set it aside. Rinse the celery stalks, giving special attention to the inside of the base of each stalk, where dirt tends to lodge. You may need a vegetable scrubber to remove stubborn dirt. Trim off the top part of the stalk where it branches into leaves, and set the tops aside with the heart. Using a small paring knife or vegetable peeler, scrape the outside of each celery stalk to remove the fibrous strings that run its length. Do your best to get all the strings out of the celery - or else you will end up with tender celery streaked with strong, stringy fibers.

Cut the stalks into 3- to 4-inch lengths. Arrange them in a layer in the baking dish. It's fine if the sticks overlap some; they will shrink and flatten into a single layer as they braise.



Finely chop the reserved celery heart, with the celery tops and leaves. Melt the remaining butter in a medium skillet (10-inch) over medium-high heat. Add the shallot, thyme, and chopped celery heart and leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Saute, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Pour in the wine and simmer until the pan is almost dry, about 3 minutes. Add the stock and simmer until reduced by half, another 6 minutes or so.



Pour the celery-shallot-stock mixture over the celery sticks. Cover with foil and slide into the middle of the oven to braise until the celery has collapsed and feels very tender when prodded with a knife tip, about I hour and 15 minutes.



 Remove the celery from the oven, and increase the oven heat to 400 degrees. Sprinkle the cheese and bread crumbs over the celery, and return to the oven until the cheese is melted and the top is crusty and browned, about 10 more minutes. Serve hot or warm.



Tracy, my lovely wife, was not so excited about eating a celery dish.  Once she took the first bite, she was sold.  This one's a keeper!

2 comments:

  1. I have to say. This is definitely a unique receipe. I would NEVER have thought to make this. But it looks delicious and we may just have to give it a shot.

    Bert

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  2. Thanks Bert. I had to find something that used a LOT of celery since I grew about 8 heads of it.. This is tweaked from a recipe in a really old French cookbook I have.

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