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Quick-Braised Vegetables

Scott Phillips

Servings: two to three.

This recipe is great for weeknights. When you have more time, use the technique as a springboard to create more complex dishes, such as Braised Carrots, Red Onions & Bell Peppers with Ginger, Lime & Cilantro, Braised Green Beans with Ham & Mushrooms, and Braised Asparagus & Cipolline Onions with Pancetta & Balsamic Butter Glaze.


Fresh vegetables—choose from:

  • •1 lb. medium or thick asparagus;
  • • 1 lb. (1 bunch) carrots;
  • • 3/4 lb. green beans; or
  • • 1 lb. total mix of carrots, beans and asparagus
  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • Scant 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup homemade or low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 to 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard


  • Trim the vegetables following the instructions below. If you have a scale, weigh the vegetables after trimming: you should have 10 oz. trimmed asparagus, 10 oz. trimmed green beans, 12 oz. peeled and trimmed carrots, or 10 oz. total of a mix of all three trimmed vegetables. If you don’t have a scale, spread the vegetables in a 10-inch straightsided sauté pan to see if you have about the right amount; they should cover the bottom of the pan with a minimum of overlapping (a little bit is fine, as the vegetables will shrink as they cook).
  • Heat the olive oil and 2 tsp. of the butter in a 10-inch straight-sided sauté pan over medium-high heat. Be sure the pan you choose has a lid. When the milk solids in the butter are just beginning to turn a nutty brown, add the vegetables and salt and toss well with tongs. Arrange the vegetables in one layer (or as many as possible in one layer). Cook without stirring until the bottoms are nicely browned, 3 to 4 min. Toss and turn over, and cook for another 2 min. to lightly brown another side. Pour in the chicken broth, immediately cover the pan, and simmer until the liquid has almost completely evaporated, 2 to 3 min. Remove the pan from the heat, add the lemon juice, Dijon, and remaining 1 tsp. butter and toss to combine well with the vegetables, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon. Serve right away as individual servings or pour and scrape the contents of the pan onto a small platter and serve family style.

For even cooking, trim the vegetables to a uniform size

  • Carrots
    Trim the tops and tails and peel the carrots. Cut them in half crosswise and then cut the thicker end in half lengthwise to get pieces of about the same width, no more than 34inch (the length can vary)
  • Asparagus
    Cut off the tough ends so that all the spears are about 6 to 7 inches long.
  • Green beans
    Cut away any brown spots. Trim off the stem end (and the tail end, if wilted).

Add: 3 medium shallots, peeled and halved. Put them in the pan with the vegetables at the start, and do not remove.
Add: 2 or 3 sprigs fresh thyme and rosemary, tied together in a little bundle. Put the bundle in with the vegetables at the start and remove just before adding the Dijon and lemon juice.
Substitute: 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar and 1 Tbs. orange juice for the Dijon and lemon juice.


Choose young, slim carrots with their bright leafy tops on. Choose medium or thick asparagus (12 to 34 inch wide). Don’t use thin spears for braising— they will overcook. Choose fresh young green beans (but not ultra-thin ones) as close to ­uniform thickness as possible.


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Reviews (3 reviews)

  • timmolendijk | 07/30/2019

    “cover the pan, and simmer until the liquid has almost completely evaporated”

    the laws of physics make me doubt that this is possible 🤔

  • VAgardengirl | 01/18/2009

    This recipe allows the vegetables to shine through and yields a quick and delicious dish.VAgardengirl

  • chefdana | 05/28/2008

    I tried this with all asparagus, and boy was it good. I saved my braised asparagus after I finished my main course, just so that I could savor it by itself! The butter/oil/lemon/mustard sauce is perfect. I will try this with other vegetables. It is also very quick.

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