long-cooked broccoli

11 Feb

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 And if you think it’s an outdated way to cook vegetables and that it ruins them and that it’s for unrefined palates, you’re wrong.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.

9 Responses to “long-cooked broccoli”

  1. Linda Madura February 12, 2012 at 15:15 #

    You know, my non-vegetable-loving husband might just like it this way!! I’m going make the dish this week…maybe not on Vanentine’s Day…but this week.🙂

    • Julie February 15, 2012 at 14:20 #

      Haha, yeah don’t try to feed him vegetables on Valentine’s Day.

      Let me know how it goes over!

  2. Barrie Templeton February 18, 2012 at 16:11 #

    My wife gets severe cramps when she eats broccoli, so I buy small heads or just florets and mostly cut it up fine as a garnish on my salads.
    Do you have any reports about how long cooking affects the components of the vegetable? It is known that some of the more difficult-to-digest components of foods are broken down or neutralised by cooking, and perhaps the long process may take care of a persistent material.
    My only concern with this long cooking, and that is the flavour. You enjoy it, but I, for some reason I can’t explain, visualise canned asparagus, which, to my palate, is absolutely horrible. It is mushy, slimy, and has a bitterness to rival late-summer dandelion leaves, raw. Yuck.

    • Julie February 18, 2012 at 16:31 #

      Uh, I guess if your wife gets severe cramps, it’s probably best to just avoid broccoli… I guess if you knew what it was about broccoli that was the problem, you’d know if cooking would break it down or whatever.

      As for the taste, I’ve never had canned asparagus (why the hell would I??), but this is just really mellow and earthy. Have you ever had broccoli soup? That’s essentially long-cooked, just mixed with cream and broth and such.

      • Barrie Templeton February 18, 2012 at 17:13 #

        Thanks for the quick reply, Julie.
        Yes, she avoids broccoli, along with many other foods which she can’t tolerate. We just keep hoping to find ways to reintroduce some of them, one at a time, for nutrition and eating enjoyment.
        Canned asparagus was the only way I ever had the stuff as a kid growing up on the prairies of Western Canada; it’s a short growing seasonal crop here, and in ice-box days, tinned was the only way to get many vegetables during the winter. Canned peas are also pretty dreadful, but kids learn how to mash them into their potatoes!
        My wife avoids broccoli soup for fear of similar problems. Since she is also lactose-intolerant, anything with cream is out, anyway. Eating isn’t always a lot of fun for her.

      • Julie February 19, 2012 at 16:21 #

        Well, let me know if you do decide to try it and it agrees with her!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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