Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fall Roasted Root Veggies

Just want to bake some steal-out-of-the-pan good root veggies with out all the drama?
This is very definitely a use what you have kinda recipe.

The two secrets - 1) removing water from root veggies creates more intense flavors,
2) cooking at a higher heat breaks down the natural starches and sugars to make yummy brown flavors (OK, it caramelizes them.  I hate how that word has been overexposed and overused of late.)

Here ya' go.

Roasted Root Veg

cutting board
vegetable peeler
baking sheet
sauté pan w/ a lid
(snap top container - for freezing extra servings)

12 - 15 root vegetables (include starchy, sweet & earthy if you can)
Choose From

a drizzle of salt
2 tsp oil

small handful sage
(& I had parsley too - so a big one of parsley)
2 tsp bacon drippings (or oil, or butter)
1/4 - 1/2 C chicken stock/water

1 lb (+/-) hearty leafy dark greens
Choose From
-beet greens
-mustard greens are good too if you like that kick.
(stay away from the cabbage-y stuff for this.)

balsamic vinegar - 1 Tbs per baking pan.
truffle salt - to taste (sprinkle, stir, taste, repeat until perfect)

All the root veg.  Rinse them off so they are not muddy.
Cut off the fuzzy roots (let your parsnips stay pointy!) and any other parts you wouldn't want to eat.
Peel off the tough outer skin with your vegetable peeler.
Cut up the veg into bite size pieces, and make the beets thinner, since they are tougher and need more cooking.  The onion pieces can be a bit larger.

Place these on your baking sheets
(I had 2 pans worth!)
Spread them out so they are not stacked.

Sprinkle a bit of oil and salt on your veg, and toss thoroughly (clean hands works great).

Kale, collards and mustard all have a stem
like a stick.  Not yummy.  Pull it out.
Rinse your leaves and herbs well.
Tear the big heavy stems out of your greens (you can just chop up chard, stems and all).  Tear or chop the leaves into pieces hand size or smaller.

The herbs need to be chopped fine.

Heat your oven to 425˚F
Pop the veg in for 20 minutes.

While the veg are roasting, heat up your sauté pan with the fat in it.  Toss in a piece of sage, when the pan is warming up over medium high heat.  When it sizzles, stir in the rest of the herbs until they are fragrant.  Toss in the leaves, and get them coated in the fat and herbs.  Stir for a minute or so.
Add the stock, clap on the lid, lower the heat to medium and cook for about 8 minutes.  The leaves need to be limp, but not necessarily cooked to done.

Pull the par-cooked veg out of the oven at the end of 20 minutes and lower the heat to 375˚F.

Combine all the veg.  If you have made a "whole bunch" this is where you cool and freeze servings for later.  See below for the "from frozen" directions.

Toss the veg on the pan with vinegar, and a pinch of the truffle salt.
Back into the oven for 15 more minutes.

Check the veg.  Are they tender?  A tiny bit of browning?  When they get there, pull them out and toss them together in a bowl.  Taste for vinegar and salt.
The sweet of the carrots and/or beets and/or parsnips should be met with a little sour from the vinegar.  And taste for salt - and mysteriousness of the earthy truffle.  Add a little more of either if it is needed.

And suddenly what may have been a bad idea in the frozen section becomes something that gets stolen out of the pan before it gets to the table.

***From Frozen***

Heat your oven to 375˚F
Spread the veg (roots & leaves) out on your pan.
Toss with the Tbs of vinegar and a sprinkle of the truffle salt.
Roast for at least 25 minutes.  Again, check for the browning, and intensified flavor.  When you get there, finish the same way.
Not instant, but darn fast.  And darn good.

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