Braised Summer Vegetables with Basil Broth
- Yield 6 servings
- 12 golden or Chioggia beets, or a combination, golf ball size
- Basil broth:
- 4 cups cups fresh basil leaves, loosely packed
- 1 1/2 cups hot vegetable stock
- Kosher salt
- Cheese crisps:
- 3/4 cup coarsely grated Vella Dry Jack cheese
- 18 baby carrots, peeled
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh chives
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Roast the beets in a covered baking dish until they are tender when pierced, about 1 hour. Peel and quarter them and set aside.
- For the basil broth: Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the basil leaves and blanch for 10 seconds. Drain in a sieve or colander and cool quickly under cold running water. Squeeze as much liquid out of the leaves as you can. Chop roughly. In a blender, combine the chopped basil and 3/4 cup of the hot stock. Puree well, then add the remaining 3/4 cup stock and a pinch of salt and puree again. Strain though a fine sieve into a small saucepan.
- For the cheese crisps: Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat, or lightly brush a nonstick baking sheet with olive oil. Place a 3 1/2-inch pastry ring on the baking sheet and fill it with 2 tablespoons of the grated cheese, spreading the cheese evenly. Lift the ring and repeat until you have used all of the cheese; you should have enough cheese for 6 crisps. If you do not have a pastry ring, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and trace six 3 1/2-inch circles onto the parchment.
- Bake until the cheese bubbles and turns golden and the butterfat begins to separate, 8 to 10 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through. Don’t let the cheese brown or the crisps will taste bitter. Working quickly, lift the cheese rounds with a metal spatula and drape them over a rolling pin. It’s okay if they overlap slightly. Let cool, then remove.
- Cut the carrots in half crosswise, slicing on the diagonal. Put the carrots in a medium saucepan. Add 3/4 cup of the stock, the butter, and a pinch of salt. Simmer uncovered over moderate heat until the carrots are tender when pierced and about 3 tablespoons of liquid remain, about 8 minutes. Add the quartered beets and the remaining 1/4 cup stock and stir for about 2 minutes to warm the beets through. Add the tomatoes, raise the heat to high, and stir until their skins just begin to split; don’t let the tomatoes collapse. Remove from the heat and stir in the chives and olive oil. Taste for salt. Add a squeeze of lemon to brighten the flavor.
- Warm the basil broth gently; do not allow it to boil. Put 1/4 cup broth in each of 6 warm soup bowls. Divide the vegetables among the bowls. Top each serving with a cheese crisp.
Recipe reprinted with permission from Jack and Dolores Cakebread and Brian Streeters’s The Cakebread Cellars American Harvest Cookbook (Ten Speed Press, 2011).