Braised Carrots and Parsnips with Dried Cranberries
Why This Recipe Works
The cooking liquid becomes your sauce when braising, so the trick to making a great braised vegetable side dish is to create a sauce that coats the vegetables well and infuses them with flavor but also stands on its own. Carrots serve as the anchor in each recipe since they offer a sweetness that plays well with most any other root vegetable; plus, they add bright color. Slicing the carrots and other vegetables (parsnips, turnips, celery root, sweet potato) 1/4 inch thick ensured that they cooked through evenly and quickly. We found that a mixture of chicken broth and apple cider gave us a base with depth and sweetness that complemented most any root vegetable; wine came across as punchy and too tart. Reducing the cooking liquid slightly before the root vegetables were added and finishing with butter and Dijon mustard gave the sauce a silky texture and some body. Fruit (or candied ginger, in the case of our sweet potato recipe) and a fresh herb lent color and bright, fresh flavor.