The other day, as I began another chapter in my lifelong quest to find new ways to celebrate Brussels sprouts, I stumbled upon something called a barigoule.
Barigoule — pronounced bah-ree-GOOL — refers to a particular wild mushroom, a saffron milk cap to be exact. The original Provencal dish, which is centuries old, was an artichoke heart stuffed with its namesake mushroom. Nowadays though, a modern barigoule seems to have shed entirely its fungus roots. Today, a barigoule refers primarily to artichokes, but also to any other selection of vegetables, that are braised in a wine, lemon juice and butter broth.
You can find a lot of variation among these recipes. Some use chicken broth in the braising liquid, while others poach seafood in the broth at the end of the braising.
The recipe that attracted me, Linguine with Brussels Sprouts Barigoule, uses olive oil, butter, water, white wine, garlic, the pasta-cooking liquid and the essence of the leaks, cabbage and Brussels sprouts to create a flavorful broth.
Now, we’re not talking explosive flavor here. This is more of a delicate, subtle taste experience, but as such, the dish is quite comforting, like a bowl of chicken soup or linguine prepared just with garlic and olive oil. The flavors are simple, yet full.
Despite the braising, nothing about this dish is mushy. The recipe’s timing parameters result in vegetables that are fully cooked but have retained their shape and texture. The nutty sweetness of the Brussels sprouts really shines through with this amount and method of cooking.
I followed the instructions exactly and the result was a perfectly delicious dinner in a bowl — predominantly a pasta dish, with not enough liquid to call it soup, but the liquid is definitely a broth, not a sauce.
It reminded me of my mother’s favorite way to use up leftover Thanksgiving turkey when the bird was particularly juicy. She would use some of the pan drippings for the gravy, but the rest she would squirrel away to serve over spaghetti the next day. The result was so delicious. Nothing but the full flavor of the turkey and the pasta, which would slap your chin as you leaned over the bowl and slurped it up.
This barigoule would be delicious made with turkey broth. And if you wanted to make it less about the pasta and more about the vegetables, I’d just reduce the pasta amount by half but keep all the other proportions the same.
Other variations could include adding a bit of heat, a chopped chili pepper sautéed early on with the leaks and cabbage. You easily could give the dish an Asian feel by using bok choy instead of cabbage and adding some fresh ginger and some straw mushrooms to the mix.
A YouTube video shows Raymond Blanc making a traditional barigoule. A recipe from Hubert Keller uses artichoke hearts, onion, carrots and leaks for the barigoule, serving it with a filet of grilled halibut on top. Another pasta-less barigoule from the New York Times calls for artichokes, onion, fennel, carrots and celery to be braised in white wine and chicken broth. Another vegan version shows the barigoule served over some hardy grilled bread.
This recipe is a wonderful jumping off point for any variation you can dream up.
Linguine with Brussels Sprouts Barigoule
Serves 4 to 6
½ pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and any discolored leaves discarded
2 leeks (white and pale green parts)
¾ pound Savoy cabbage (about ½ head), cored and sliced ¼-inch thick
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided (I didn’t have unsalted so I used salted and it worked fine.)
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2/3 cup dry white wine
4 cups water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, divided
¾ pound dried linguine (I used whole wheat)
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (I didn’t have any so I left it out, but next time I would make sure I had some)
Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
Grated Parmesan cheese
Peel off and reserve a few outer leaves from the Brussels sprouts. Quarter the Brussels sprouts lengthwise. Thinly slice the leeks, then wash. (Leeks can have all sorts of sand and grit stuck down between the layers, so after you slice them, give them a vigorous bath in a bowl or sink full of water. Let the sand drop to the bottom then lift the clean leeks out. Drain them well.)
Cook leeks and cabbage in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter with ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a 12-inch heavy skillet, preferably with straight sides, over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. (A Dutch oven would be perfect.)
Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
Add wine and simmer until most of liquid has evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add water, lemon juice, ½ teaspoon fresh thyme, and remaining tablespoon each of oil and butter. Simmer briskly, covered, until cabbage is tender and liquid is reduced by half, about 15 minutes.
Stir in Brussels sprouts and leaves and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook linguine in a pot of boiling salted water (3 tablespoons of salt for 6 quarts of water) until almost al dente. (Set the timer for 2 to 3 minutes less than the lowest recommended cooking time.) Reserve 2 cups of the pasta-cooking water — don’t forget! — then drain the pasta.
Stir the linguine into vegetables with reserved cooking water and ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Simmer until the pasta is al dente, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and toss with parsley, the remaining ½ teaspoon of thyme, and salt to taste.
Serve pasta in shallow bowls with some of broth, a drizzle of olive oil and a generous sprinkling of parmesan cheese.
Recipe from epicurious.com via Gourmet magazine, March 2009.
Jill Blanchette works at night at The Day. Share comments and recipes with her at email@example.com.