Monday, October 3, 2011

Roasted Root Vegetables

With fall coming, things are turning such beautiful colors. But it's not winter yet, and there's time to enjoy what's left of this year's bounty. Roasting root vegetables is a great way to admire what nature still has to offer us.

Look at all this purple! I've got beets, purple potatoes, fingerling potatoes, carrots, and onion. I was hoping to add a parsnip or rutabaga, but no one at my market grew those, and I didn't want to buy a huge rutabaga or a pack of 6 parsnips at the store. Looking at how purple it is, I wish I had had some acorn or butternut squash here, even though they're not root vegetables. A sweet potato would have been nice. But that's what's great about this. You can use whatever vegetables you like.

I peeled the carrots and the beets but just gave everything else a nice cleaning. Then I cut them into nice bite-sized pieces. (Here's a hint--do the beets last, or everything will be a little purple!)

Make sure they're all roughly the same size--although I did make the beets a bit smaller, as they take a little longer to cook.

Drizzle everything with some olive oil. Enough so everyone gets some.

Sprinkle with salt--and just a little sugar, to help bring out the vegetables' natural sugars. And crack some fresh pepper over the top.

You can add your favorite herbs if you want (they're fine without them, too.) I used fresh rosemary and fresh thyme. Whatever herbs you like. Or some garlic. I didn't add garlic because I wanted the flavor of the vegetables to shine through, but that doesn't mean you couldn't add some to yours!

And, just because I could (and because I had a ton sitting in the freezer), I added a lump or two of duck fat.

Duck fat is totally optional. But I find it adds a little richness to the vegetables' flavors. A pat of butter would have a similar, but not quite the same, effect. I dare you to try it.

Toss everything together, to make sure each piece is coated with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper.

Roast at 425F for 45 minutes-1 hour, until all your vegetables are tender. Open the oven a couple times to stir the vegetables around, to prevent sticking and to make sure they stay evenly coated and get the chance to get caramelized.

Stir carefully, or you may end up with lots of beet-stained potatoes ;)

This is a really easy and delicious side dish (and a great way to get your family to eat their veggies.) The potatoes are rich and creamy, the carrots are sharp, and the beets turn sweet and tender. Use your favorite vegetables and your favorite herbs and make this a weekly meal your family will love.

Recipe: Roasted Root Vegetables

your favorite root vegetables (carrots, potatoes, onions, parsnips, etc.)
olive oil, for drizzling
salt and pepper, to taste
pinch sugar
your favorite herbs (2-3 tbsp. fresh, 2-3 tsp. dried)
1-2 tbsp. duck fat or butter (optional)

Clean and peel root vegetables, if necessary. Cut into bite-sized pieces and lay on a sheet pan in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt, pepper, and sugar. Add herbs and duck fat/butter. Toss to evenly coat. Roast in a 425F oven for 45 minutes-1 hour, stirring occasionally, or until vegetables are cooked through and caramelized on the outside.

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