Braising is not just for carnivores. Although we do enjoy a good pot roast, we love braising vegetables and feel this is often the best way to play up their flavors.
For example, this cauliflower gets browned in olive oil and garlic, letting a thin golden crust form on its firm white stalks. It's tossed with tangy sun-dried tomatoes, to heighten and balance the mild, slightly sour flavor, and then simmered with milk for a dish that we love over pasta or on its own.
The other advantage of vegetarian braises? They are much, much quicker than meat...
Creamy Braised Cauliflower with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
1 1/2 cups milk
Red pepper flakes (optional)
1 onion, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, in strips
1 head of cauliflower, sliced into bite-sized pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Put the milk in a small saucepan to warm.
Heat the olive oil in a heavy pot or Dutch oven and toast the pepper, if using. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and translucent.
Turn the heat to medium high and add the tomatoes. Cook until fragrant and softened, then add the cauliflower. Cook without stirring for a couple minutes, then stir to let it brown on the other side. Cook for about 4 minutes, or until the cauliflower is dark in spots and golden in others.
Turn the heat to low and let the pan cool down a bit, then add the hot milk, stir, and cover. Cook for about 7 minutes, or until cauliflower is tender. Remove the lid and test, then add salt.