The only ingredient you must use is cognac, which transforms the dish from vegetable stew into a complex, deeply flavorful dining event. Also, you get to light the cognac fumes with a match, which will literally brighten your day. (But first, it’s vitally important to turn off the overhead fan, lest it suck the flames into your range hood and you create an entirely different kind of evening. This I know.)
If you have helpers for the chopping, this recipe is quick enough for a weeknight supper. But it’s best served in a crowded kitchen on a lazy weekend, cooking up memories.