Monday, May 19, 2008

Spring Vegetable Ragout

I always enjoy hearing about the inspiration behind a particular dish. If you read, I'm Mad and I Eat, you'll recognize cookiecrumb as a food writer who clues you in to her latest meal right away, with reference to what's happening in her garden, or the local market.

This fabulous Spring Vegetable Ragout was one of those tangential dishes. You know what I mean, one that starts with research into one ingredient and then ends up a totally different dish than you were imagining, requiring completely different ingredients and a trip to the store.

So, here's the story. I recently purchased a bag of flageolet, those French small green oval-shaped beans most commonly associated with cassoulet, really tiny, immature kidney beans with a creamy texture. I was thinking casserole or salad, but looking for pairing inspiration. So I hit the cookbooks and, to be honest, didn't find much inspiration. There was a flageolet and sage sauce in The Millennium Cookbook, but sage wasn't really singing out to me. Suddenly, I thought of Georgeanne Brennan's France: The Vegetarian Table. While I didn't find a recipe for the flageolets, I did find inspiration with her recipe for Spring Vegetable Ragout. So, off to the store, to look for golf size turnips, fresh fava beans, and asparagus.

This is one of those simple, but enormously satisfying vegetarian recipes that one can adapt to the fresh herbs growing in one's garden.  Although this dish benefits a great deal from salty butter, if you're vegan, use olive oil and up the herbs.

Spring Vegetable Ragout (adapted from France: The Vegetarian Table):

1/2 cup of fava beans, depodded and peeled
1 golf sized turnip, peeled and cubed
5 baby dutch potatoes, cubed
6 stalks of asparagus, woody ends removed, cut on the diagonal into 2 " pieces
1 large stalk green (Spring) garlic, outer skin removed, sliced
2 TBS salted butter
4 fingerling carrots, sliced in half lengthwise
pinch of sea salt
pinch of black pepper
pinch of sugar
1/2 cup fresh English peas, podded
1/4 cup white wine
thyme leaves
mint leaves, julienned
chives, snipped

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the potatoes and carrots, cover, and cook over medium-low heat for 5 mintues. Add the turnip, cover, and cook an additional 4 minutes.   Add the green garlic, salt, pepper, and sugar. Cover and cook an additional 4 minutes. Add the fava beans and peas. Cover and cook over low heat for 6-7 minutes.

Add the white wine and reduce by 1/3, uncovered. Add the asparagus, thyme, mint, and chives. Cover and cook over low heat for 5 minutes.


Blogger cookiecrumb said...

That was a nice ramble with a tasty, unexpected destination. Mm. (Mint leaves! Who'da thunk?)
Reminds me of some of Deborah Madison's veggie stews.

7:20 AM  
Blogger mitr_bayarea said...


another good veggie recipe....very french.

11:29 AM  
Blogger Melody Polakow said...

This looks beautiful...

We got some amazing baby turnips into work this week...and wow! I am in LOVE with them.. and their greens...

7:23 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

Wow, Catherine. This looks spectacular. I've got favas in the garden that are ready to pick and I'll be using some of them in this recipe.

8:37 PM  
Blogger bazu said...

The colors of those vegetables, especially in that beautiful bowl, are blowing me away! This photo should be next to the dictionary definition of "spring"

12:15 PM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Thanks for the encouraging comments!

Christine - I'm really pretty into those favas!

Melody - looking forward to some turnip recipes from you.

3:25 PM  

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