March 22, 2007

Transitioning: Vegetable Ragout

The space between the seasons is most interesting to me. I love the nature of being inbetween. My favorite time of day is at dusk, the moment right before or after a rainstorm, the sensation of being just waking but still dreamy, or slipping off into sleep...

So far the official start of spring brought us cloudy gray skies and a few showers. With the last of the Brussels sprouts and the first of the asparagus, a vegetable ragout for the transitioning seasons was made. We welcome the spring.

Vegetable Ragout with Herbed Dumplings, adapted from Vegetarian Suppers by Deborah Madison

The original is more of a wintery dish, but I springified it here with leeks, green garlic, asparagus and chives.

2 TB butter
1 leek, sliced thinly
1 green garlic bulb, sliced thinly
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
2 TB chopped parsley
juice of half of a lemon
2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup white wine
1 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
4 oz asparagus, in 1-inch lengths

1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup warm milk
3 TB melted butter
1 egg
3 TB chopped parsley
3 TB snipped chives

Melt butter in a large saute pan with a lid over medium-high heat. When foam subsides, saute leek until soft. Add mushrooms, green garlic and parsley. Cook until mushrooms begin to brown, then add lemon juice, stock and wine. Salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer then add Brussels sprouts. Reduce heat to low and cover. Let cook 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. In another bowl, combine milk, butter, egg and herbs. Pour into flour mixture and stir until just combined. You will have more dumpling batter than you need.

To the ragout, add the asparagus stalks, but not the tips. Using a spoon, drop dumpling batter over the ragout, leaving space for expansion. You'll probably use about 3/4 of the batter, depending on the size of your pan, or make about 12 dumplings. Cover and cook for 12 minutes. When there are two minutes remaining, add the asparagus tips. Serve, giving each person about 3-4 dumplings.

Serves 4

P.S. I am currently working on a top secret project and I have my first test run tomorrow. Hopefully, all will be successful and I shall share soon!

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