To celebrate the start of the fall season, on this chilly San Francisco night, I made a delicious and super easy Autumn vegetable ragout and served it atop creamy white cheddar polenta. I’ve had this recipe in the hopper for quite some time, just waiting for the right time to make it. Now that I’ve eaten it, I think it will become a fall/winter staple since you can add or substitue a bunch of different veggies.
Autumn Vegetable Ragout
adapted from myrecipes.com
1 1/2 cups dried small white beans, rinsed, or 2 cans (15 oz. each) white beans (see notes)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 onion (about 8 oz.), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 pound parsnips, peeled, ends trimmed, and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch chunks
About 1/2 teaspoon salt
About 1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 pound kale
1 can (28 oz.) diced or crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup pitted calamata olives, chopped
- Sort beans for debris, then rinse. In a 5- to 6-quart pan over high heat, bring beans and about 2 quarts water to a boil. Cover, boil for 2 minutes, and remove from heat. Let stand at least 2 and up to 4 hours. Drain beans, rinse, return to pan, and add 2 quarts water. Bring to a simmer over high heat, cover, reduce heat to maintain a simmer, and cook until beans are tender to bite, about 40 minutes. Drain beans, reserving 4 cups cooking liquid (see notes).
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix olive oil and garlic. Add onion, parsnips, squash, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; mix to coat evenly. Spread mixture in single layers in two 12- by 15-inch baking pans. Bake in a 400° regular or convection oven for 15 minutes. Stir with a wide spatula and bake until vegetables are tender when pierced, 10 to 15 minutes longer.
- Rinse kale and tear leaves from center ribs; discard ribs and stems. In a 6- to 8-quart pan over high heat, bring about 2 quarts water to a boil. Add kale leaves and cook, uncovered, until tender to bite, 2 to 3 minutes. Lift out with a slotted spoon and immerse in cold water until cool. Drain and coarsely chop.
- In a 6- to 8-quart pan over high heat, combine beans, the 4 cups reserved bean cooking liquid (see notes), roasted vegetables, tomatoes with their juices, and olives. Adjust heat to maintain a simmer and cook for 15 minutes to blend flavors. Add kale and cook to heat, 1 to 2 minutes. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. Mound polenta on dinner plates or in shallow bowls and ladle vegetable ragout over polenta.
I halved the recipe and it was plenty to serve 4. I also used canned beans and chicken broth in place of the bean cooking liquid, because who wants to use that weird bean-y goo from canned beans? Ew. Anyway – I also added a zucchini, to add more vegetables, that I placed on a separate cookie sheet about 1/2 way through the squash/parsnip roasting. I used Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes and they gave the dish a really nice smoky-ness. I left out the olives because I didn’t think their flavor was necessary in this dish. You also do not need to blanche the kale separately – I just chopped it and threw it in with about 5 minutes of time left. You could easily substitute carrots, brussel sprouts, eggplant, or any other hearty vegetable. It may seem like a lot of liquid when you add the broth, but it will cook down while the polenta is cooking. I served it with a white cheddar polenta, although you could serve it with whatever variation you would like.