Monday, December 7, 2009

Root veggies!

Winter is the time to celebrate root vegetables. My CSA boxes, from Jubilee farm, are now full of root vegetables with perhaps a squash and some winter greens here and there. Potatoes, celeriac, turnips, rutabaga, parsnips, carrots, and beets are main staples on our dinner table these days. I find that soups, mashes, purees, and roasts are the best ways to enjoy many of these hearty and nutritious veggies.
Here is an example of a recent meal: Roast chicken breasts with potato and turnip mash, and roasted carrots.

Root vegetable mash: I used a combination of potatoes, turnips, and leeks, but parsnips and celeriac would also work beautifully on their own or combined with any of the other root veggies.
This is how to make the mash I made:
Chop and thoroughly clean leeks. Saute leeks in olive oil with salt and pepper, until tender and beginning to brown, then remove from heat. Peel and coarsely dice your root veggies. Cover with salted water, and bring to a gentle boil. Once tender, drain the veggies and return to pot. Add a couple tablespoons of butter, little warm milk, and your sauteed leeks. Mash with a potato masher. Adjust consistency by adding more or less milk. For a smooth puree, rather than a mash, first process your veggies through a food mill or potato ricer, before adding dairy.

Roasted chicken breats: season your bone-in, skin on chicken breasts with olive oil, salt and pepper, and any herbs you like (I used a combination of sage and thyme).
roast at 375 deg. F for approximately 40 minutes or until an instant read thermometer registers between 160 and 165 deg. F. Tent chicken with foil, and let rest for about 20 minutes.

Roasted carrots:
I like to prepare 2-3 carrots per person. Peel and coarsely dice your carrots (1 inch pieces). Season with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on a sheet pan and roast along side your chicken (375 deg. F) for 30 minutes, or until the carrots are tender and caramelized. If you like your carrots even sweeter, feel free to coat with a teaspoon or so of maple syrup when the come out of the oven, or in the last 10 minutes of roasting.

Use any left overs to make chicken noodle soup the next day.