I feel like I’ve been cheated out of a true winter. We had a fascinatingly beautiful snowpocalypse that broke a snowfall record… but that lasted all of 1 day. The next day, the sun shown brightly, beaming down and melting all the snow piles into slush. Since then we’ve had 40-50F weather and paltry flurries that had no chance of sticking. I should be happy. Except I’m still so fascinated by snow—there was no snow growing up in Central California—that I can’t help but be at least a little disappointed. :(
On the other hand, one thing that I always seem to have plenty of is celery. Since it’s the smallest unit available, I’ll find myself buying a full bag of celery only to use 1/2 of a stick for some random recipe, and leaving the remaining 3 full stalks to sit unloved in the refrigerator. There’s only so much celery-and-peanut butter snacking one can do, and still not really make much of a dent. It’s a shame the snow couldn’t have stuck around as well as celery does!
I decided that there had to be a better way of consuming all of this celery… and I can indeed tell you that such a thing does exist: braised celery!
It’s something that I would likely never have guessed (and I would also guess most people wouldn’t either) but the transformation this unassuming vegetable takes when you braise it in a bit of browned butter and stock leaves for a wonderful gustatory surprise. The once difficult, fibrous, stringy shell gives way to a tender, soft, and yet-crisp meatiness. Tones of nuttiness and toffee cut the natural bitterness, yielding a seriously complex flavor. This dish is a must try! If not just a great way to finally finish off that inventory of celery that never seems to disappear.
Happy Meatless Monday!
- 1 lb celery, chopped into 3-4in sections
- 1 Tbs butter, unsalted
- 1 c low sodium stock, chicken or veggie
- pinch black pepper
- Wash and chop celery stalks into 3-4 inch sections (smaller if desired). Separate leaves, chop, and set aside for garnish later.
- In a skillet, melt butter on medium to med-high and add chopped celery, stirring intermittently until celery starts to develop a yellow-gold hue. About 5 minutes
- Add low-sodium stock, pepper and bring to a simmer.
- Maintain simmer and cover skillet with lid until broth evaporates, stirring occasionally. About 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat and plate; garnishing with chopped celery leaves and an extra sprinkling of black pepper. Enjoy while warm!