Vegetable Ragout with Fresh Herbs


This recipe was inspired by the time chef Jeremiah Tower spent cooking with culinary genius Richard Olney in France. No better appreciation of vegetables can be found than in Olney's book Simple French Food, Tower says. The vegetable combination here is only one of many, though Tower never uses more than seven vegetables and never uses tomatoes unless they are sweet cherry tomatoes.

Vegetable Ragout with Fresh Herbs
Photo: © Maura McEvoy


  • 6 cups water

  • 1 tarragon sprig, plus 1 teaspoon minced tarragon

  • 1 thyme sprig

  • Kosher salt

  • 1 pound pearl onions, peeled

  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 2-by-1/3-inch sticks

  • 1 pound haricots verts or thin green beans

  • 6 small zucchini, halved lengthwise

  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 2-by-1/3-inch strips

  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 2-by-1/3-inch strips

  • 1 stick (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons

  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

  • 2 tablespoons minced chives

  • 1 large garlic clove, minced

  • Freshly ground pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 300°. In a medium enameled cast-iron casserole, bring the water to a boil with the tarragon and thyme sprigs and 1 teaspoon of salt.

  2. Add the pearl onions, cover and simmer over low heat until tender, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the onions to a large shallow baking dish. Add the carrots to the simmering water, cover and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Transfer to the shallow dish. Repeat with the haricots verts (about 4 minutes) followed by the zucchini (about 3 minutes), and, finally, the red and yellow peppers (about 3 minutes). Cover the vegetables with foil and keep warm in the oven.

  3. Boil the vegetable cooking liquid over high heat until reduced to 1 cup, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Stir in the minced tarragon, parsley, chives and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the vegetables, toss gently and serve.


If you don't have time to prepare all of the vegetables called for in this recipe, select at least three, making sure to use a variety of colors.

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