Wednesday, February 29, 2012

long-cooked broccoli

By Julie

If you think that "overcooked" vegetables are something your grandma would serve with tough, overcooked (no quotation marks) meat, canned corn, and a big ol' pat of margarine, you might be right, but your grandma might have been on to something with those vegetables. It seems pretty chic to serve all your vegetables al dente, and I do like some crunchy, quick sautéed broccoli. I also happen to absolutely love broccoli like this. And if you think it's an outdated way to cook vegetables and that it ruins them and that it's for unrefined palates, you're wrong. It's all I can do to not eat three heads of broccoli long-cooked. Seriously shoveling occurs.
There are all these speakeasy bars popping up everywhere. I'm partly really embarrassed for the people who opened them up, and also partly really attracted to go because the food looks generally pretty decent and I like dark bars. But why do they have to be like freakin' living museums or whatever? Where you go through a stupid secret door and the bartenders wear those olde tymey arm garters. Seriously, just embarrassing. I also don't like/get cocktails, so I suppose I'm not even their target clientele anyway. They just make me feel so blech in my stomach. So sugary. And every time I've asked for some concoction without sugar the bartender is so confused/irritated/befuddled/reluctant that I just don't even bother anymore. Whatever. I'll just go eat my broccoli.
There are so many things you could do to spice up this broccoli, if you felt so inclined. Anise and fennel come to mind, since this is kind of Italian-y (and would be awesome using broccoli rabe). You could stir in some cheese or squeeze lemon juice on top, too. I've seen some people chop up the broccoli and then keep stirring and cooking it until it becomes almost a purée. I'm sure that's good too, but I like how despite this being rather mushy, there is still texture to it. Reheating leftovers of this in a sauté pan on medium high with some fat results in crispy burned bits that are freaking awesome. You can serve this with whatever you want - Italian sausages, lemony fish, you know. It's versatile.
long-cooked broccoli
Don't feel like you have to make this much broccoli. Three pounds is a lot. But it's really good... but if you're not as broccoli-crazed as me, go halfsies.

3 pounds of broccoli
1/4 cup olive oil
12 garlic cloves, about a full head, finely chopped
2 pinches red pepper flakes
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 cup water or broth

1. Cut the heads off the broccoli stalks with a couple inches of stalk attached, roughly cutting the broccoli stalk in half widthwise. Cut the head into individual florets, set aside in one bowl. With the thick stalks, peel them, then slice into strips about 1/4 inch think and 1/2 inch wide, set aside in another bowl.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, stirring occasionally until the garlic is lightly browned.

3. Add the stems and water, cover, and cook for about 25 minutes.

4. Add the florets, cover, and cook for about 1 1/2 - 2 hours, stirring occasionally. You can stir vigorously if you'd like it to break down more. If you like the texture, but you've got some broth still in the pot, just turn the heat up a bit and leave uncovered until it's mostly evaporated. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.

If you wanna get really crazy, add in some butter. Holy.crap.
This was originally posted at my blog, the crankin' kitchen!

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