I love all things mustard. All things. Having spent 6 months in France and 2 months in Germany a while back, I developed a whole new appreciation for quality mustard. We're starting to make some good competitors in the US with spicy stone ground, stout infused, red wine swirled varieties. But are we cooking enough with it? I think not. It goes into almost all of my salad dressing and lately it's been going into the stove top dishes as well.
Another new ingredient in my cooking routine that has surfaced since Christmas is apple juice. We get mini single serving bottles each year in our stockings and since I'm not a big juice drinker, it usually sits in the fridge until I remind my other half to drink it. I know it's a weird choice, but for some reason a splash of apple juice can completely change a dish! (I've heard this to be true of apple cider vinegar, but I can't subscribe to that recommendation after trying it.) If a dish is a little too sour/acidic, overly salty or missing depth, it could be just the thing to give it a quick makeover. I now highly recommend having a single singer bottle in the fridge to use a tablespoon or 2 at a time.
Which is what I needed today making lunch. This was of course a classic instance of trying to use up the almost-gone ingredients in my fridge. Many of the ingredients are interchangeable with something you might have in your fridge. Use summer squash instead of winter squash, chard instead of kale, celery instead of fennel, or whatever you have lying around. The method is what will give you lovely results. Braise everything to start in broth but finish during the last couple of minutes with apple juice and a dollop of good Dijon mustard. Neither French nor German, this little ditty is still zer gut.
Braised Vegetable Medley with Apple Dijon Sauce
Makes: 1 servings
Cook time: 15-20 minutes
1/4 c. apple juice
2-3 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. maple syrup (optional)
1/2 c. fennel, chopped
3/4 c. veggie broth, divided
1/2 c. artichoke hearts, from jar or frozen (drained or thawed)
1/2 c. green beans, chopped
2-3 sun dried tomatoes, chopped (drained if packed in oil)
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. dried rosemary
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 c. cooked or parboiled butternut squash, cubed
1 c. kale, chopped
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Parsley for garnish
In a small bowl, whisk the juice, mustard and maple syrup (if using) together. Set aside while you prepare the veggies.
Heat a medium skillet over medium high heat and coat with cooking spray. Add fennel and saute 2-3 minutes or until it softens. Add 1/2 cup of broth and the next 7 ingredients (thru the salt). Lower heat to medium and cook until broth evaporates, about 5 minutes. Add butternut squash, kale and remaining broth. When the broth has evaporated again (another 3-4 minutes), add the apple juice mixture. When the liquid start to boil, lower heat and simmer until liquid has reduced and thickened, about 3 minutes. Top with freshly ground black pepper and chopped parsley.