Food Network Magazine (March 2013)
We both grew up eating a lot of dishes described as "stewed."
Stewed greens, stewed tomatoes, stewed potatoes, stewed apples, stewed prunes -- one of those managed to show up at every family reunion, church potluck or big Sunday dinner.
It always meant the same thing: something cooked in a liquid, and often, cooked within an inch of its life. Don't misunderstand: Those stewed dishes were delicious. Soft and creamy, like a braise without the dry-heat cooking. (But they could also be mushy and bland. What is it about some strains of old-school Southern cooking that take wonderful ingredients and then proceed to cook all the flavor right out of them?)
We chose this recipe -- Stewed Scallions and Tomatoes -- because we applaud Food Network Magazine for using the word "stewed" to describe a dish. Let's face it: It's not the world's most appetizing word.
The other reason we wanted to try this? It's an unusual use of scallions, to cook them whole, as an actual vegetable. We were eager to try it.
By the way, before we get to the dish: Did you know that stewed also means drunk? We're tooooootally going to start using this. "I have to go home, I'm stewed!"
Let's get stewed and chat about these scallions and tomatoes.
The idea here is simple. Combine scallions and tomatoes in a dish with garlic, parsley, tarragon, red pepper flakes and brown sugar. Mix it up, throw it in the oven, et voila: Stewed Scallions and Tomatoes.
It's all quite simple.
Here's the only hitch:
We made the recipe as directed, but only used half as many scallions (three instead of six bunches). We left the other ingredients as is, so we used the full two tablespoons of brown sugar. We loved this dish -- seriously loved it -- but ours ended up so darn sweet we could have spooned it over ice cream.
We're not convinced that three additional bunches of scallions would really cut the sugar by that much, so we recommend using either no sugar or a fraction of the two tablespoons. Or if you like it sweet, stick with the full amount of sugar.
Sweet or not, we loved these Stewed Scallions and Tomatoes. And we hope you do, too.
By the way, while we were photographing this dish, we inadvertently held it over a light source, and we loved the way it looked with the light behind it. Like stained glass, but made of tomatoes and onions. So, you know, actually nothing like stained glass.
Anyway, we thought it was pretty:
Notes from Zach and Clay of The Bitten Word:
We recommend you try this dish with either no or less sugar. We used the two tablespoons of sugar and found it to be overpoweringly sweet (granted, we were using slightly less scallions than called for). Considering cutting the sugar in half, or if you're avoiding sugar, omitting altogether.
Total Time: 1 hr 15 min
Prep Time: 15 min
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for the baking dish
1 28-ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes, drained, juice reserved
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
4 cloves garlic, sliced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Pinch of red pepper flakes
6 bunches scallions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Crush the tomatoes into the dish and add 1 cup of the reserved juice. Sprinkle with the brown sugar, garlic, parsley, tarragon, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and the red pepper flakes.
Cut the white and light green parts of the scallions into 2-to-3-inch pieces and add to the tomato mixture. Roughly chop about 1 cup of the scallion greens and add to the dish along with 1/4 cup water. Dot with 2 tablespoons butter, cover with foil and bake until the scallions are tender, 35 to 40 minutes. Uncover, increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees F and bake until the sauce is thickened, about 20 more minutes.