With temperatures in the high 70s this week in Los Angeles, it feels a little silly to be talking about braising. But since it’s sub-freezing in New York, I’m going to look at the larger meteorological picture and share this sublime recipe for braising shallots in red wine. I can think of many ways to serve these—with cote du boeuf, bruschetta with burrata, lamb shanks, duck or stew—but perhaps they are best enjoyed alongside that ultimate comfort food: roast chicken. You won’t believe how tender and flavorful these are. I’m thinking these are a relatively pious (and easy) re-entry into weeknight cooking after the past fortnight of decadence.
Braised Shallot Confit
Adapted from Molly Stevens’ All About Braising
Note: Stevens recommends looking for shallots that are all the same size so that they’ll braise evenly.
3/4 pound shallots
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons Cognac
1/2 cup dry red wine, or more
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
Peel shallots, trimming off any bits of root end that remain. Divide any larger shallots in two. Melt butter in medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Sauté, tossing frequently until shallots are brown in spots, about 5 minutes. Add Cognac. If you’re cooking over gas, carefully tilt pan and let flame ignite Cognac. Stand back as flame flares up, then swirl pan around and let flame burn down. (Foodinista note: flame barely caught and frankly, I just didn’t want to mess around with it so I forewent this touch of drama.) Simmer until there is only a glaze left in bottom of pan.
Add wine and 1 teaspoon of thyme and bring to simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low and cover the pan. Simmer until the shallots are completely soft and falling apart, 40-45 minutes. After first 15 minutes, check to make sure that the pan is not dry, and add a few tablespoons of water if necessary. Check again 2 or 3 times as shallots braise. (Foodinista’s note: mine were drying out so I added more wine.)
When shallots are done, remove lid and over medium heat boil down any liquid, shaking and stirring a few times, until a glaze forms on the shallots. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon thyme, gently stir (expect shallots to fall apart some) and season with salt/pepper.