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Braised Potatoes & Escarole

This versatile dish complements everything from roast chicken and grilled steak to panfried sausages and leg of lamb. The escarole and potatoes, which emerge meltingly tender from the slow cooker, are drizzled with a zesty vinaigrette and diced orange, which together lighten the braised vegetables and sharpen their flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 lb. small fingerling or red potatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1 large yellow onion, halved through the stem end and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2/3 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tsp. sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 head escarole or curly endive, cored, halved lengthwise and roughly chopped
  •   

For the orange vinaigrette:

  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbs. white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. finely grated orange zest
  • 2 Tbs. fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  •  
  • 1 orange

Directions:

In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter with the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the potatoes, cut sides down, and cook without turning until they are beginning to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes to a slow cooker.

Add the onion and thyme sprigs to the fry pan and sauté over medium-high heat until golden, about 5 minutes. Pour in the stock and vinegar and stir to scrape up the browned bits from the pan bottom. Stir in the salt and a few grinds of pepper and pour the contents of the pan into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high according to the manufacturer’s instructions for 1 hour.

Stir in the escarole, re-cover and cook until the potatoes and escarole are tender, 30 to 45 minutes more.

Meanwhile, make the orange vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegar, orange zest, orange juice, salt and a few grinds of pepper. Whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. You will need 1/3 cup of the vinaigrette for this dish; refrigerate the rest for another use.

Peel and segment the orange, then coarsely chop the orange segments. Pour the vinaigrette into a large shallow serving bowl. Transfer the braised vegetables and some of their braising juices to the bowl, add the chopped orange segments and stir gently to mix well. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma The New Slow Cooker, by Brigit Binns (Weldon Owen, 2010).