Recipes and Me

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Does it Get Easier than Roast Vegetables?

One of my favorite ways to prepare vegetables is to roast them.  It brings out this lovely sweetness and a really concentrated flavor in the vegetables.  It’s also a great way to amp up the flavor, especially in winter, when a number of vegetables aren’t at their peak and the selection is a bit limited.  And best of all, roasting vegetables is the easiest thing in the world!  You throw some veggies into a pan, pretty much whatever you like, drizzle them with some olive oil, sprinkle some salt and cracked black pepper on top, and voilĂ !  They’re ready to go in the oven and just hang out while you tend to other things.  While you go take a bubble bath, clean the living room, watch a little HGTV or Lifetime (I’ll never admit to watching Lifetime if questioned, just know that), or whatever it is that strikes your fancy that day, those vegetables will do all of the work for you.  No frequent stirring or check-ins needed.  In fact you want these puppies to stick to the pan a bit so they can get a nice crisp exterior and a slightly charred appearance.  

Some of my favorite vegetables to roast are carrots, parsnips, red peppers, Roma tomatoes, green beans, potatoes, and red onions.  The possibilities really are endless though.  Here is a delicious yet simple recipe I love to make because it’s a one stop shop of sorts.  You get your veggies and carbs all in one tasty dish and it’s a perfectly rustic companion for roast chicken or grilled meats.  I’ll be honest, with roast vegetables I usually throw some of this and some of that in the pan so I rarely measure anything, which makes this dish pleasantly flexible.

Roasted Carrots, Parsnips, Potatoes, and Leeks (serves 4-6)

1 pound carrots
1 pound small parsnips
1 pound small red potatoes
3-4 large leeks
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp cracked black pepper
Olive Oil
A few sprigs of thyme or any of your favorite herbs (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 °F.  Peel the parsnips and cut off the “skinny” ends. Discard the ends (they’ll burn).  Cut the parsnips in half and then again diagonally so you have 4 fairly even sized pieces for each parsnip.  You don’t need to peel the carrots, just rinse them well to get any dirt off.  Cut the carrots in the same fashion as the parsnips (if you have jumbo sized carrots you need to cut them in half first).  Cut the red potatoes in half, quarter the larger ones to ensure they cook all the way through.  Cut the ends off of the leeks and cut rounds from the leeks starting from the white part, about ½ inch thick, up to a bit of the green but stop there.  Do not cut or include the leaves, they’re not edible.  

Throw everything on the pan and sprinkle with the salt and pepper.  Add a few sprigs of thyme or any of your favorite fresh herbs if you like. Drizzle olive oil over the vegetables, about 4 tablespoons, and toss everything with your hands to get the oil on all of the vegetables.  Roast the vegetables in the oven for 40 minutes, stirring a bit around  the 20 minute mark.  And like I said, voilĂ !

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