SWEET BRAISED WHOLE SCALLIONS
From All About Braising, by Molly Stevens
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 pound scallions (about 5 bunches, or 3 dozen)
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh tarragon or 1 tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Using about 1 1/2 teaspoons of butter, generously butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
2. Trim the root ends and 1 1/2 inches off the green tops of the scallions. Arrange half of the scallions in the baking dish so the bulb ends are lined up at one end and the greens are toward the middle. Place the other half of the scallions in the opposite direction, so you end up with a double layer of scallion greens across the center of the dish and a single layer of bulbs and each end of the dish.
3. The braise: Pour the water into the dish. Cut the remaining butter into slivers and dot it over the top of the scallions. Season with the tarragon or parsley, salt, and pepper. Cover the dish tightly with foil, and slide onto the middle rack in the oven. Braise undisturbed until fragrant and tender, 35 to 40 minutes.
4. The finish: Remove the foil from the dish, and increase the oven heat to 450 degrees. Roast the scallions for 10 minutes, then shake the pan back and forth to coat the scallions with the glaze that will have formed. Continue roasting until the liquid evaporates and the edges of the scallions are beginning to brown, another 5 minutes or so. Squeeze over a few drops of lemon juice to taste, and serve hot or warm.
Yield: Two servings, at the most.
For the carnitas:
3 pounds boneless pork shoulder or country-style ribs, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large onion, diced
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup tequila
2 tablespoons lime juice, from one lime
salt to taste
1. Combine all the ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, 2 to 3 hours until the meat is tender, the onions have melted into the stew, and the broth is evaporated. (If necessary, turn up the heat near the end of cooking to evaporate the rest of the broth.) At this point, you may optionally refrigerate the carnitas before continuing. They will keep several days in the fridge.
2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the carnitas and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are heated through and well-browned, even burnt or crispy in places, about 10 minutes. Serve immediately with suggested accompaniments.
For the salad:
1/2 medium head napa cabbage, shredded
juice of 1/2 lime
Frank’s Red Hot Xtra Hot Sauce or other hot sauce of your choice
Stir together lime juice and hot sauce to taste. Toss the cabbage with the lime juice mixture and divide into two bowls. Top each bowl with about 1/2 cup hot carnitas and serve.
Yield: Two servings, with lots of carnitas left over for tacos