If you are planning to eat locally through the winter, root vegetables will be a main staple. Low in sodium, rich in vitamin C, high in fiber, root vegetables are delicious and good for you. Some have incredible healing properties and antioxidants as well.
Here we offer three ways to cook root vegetables: braised, roasted, and pureed.
Hmmm, you can almost feel the warmth and smell the scents of winter cooking just looking at these…
- 2 lbs medium root vegetables. Such as carrots, parsnips, burdock, rutabagas, yams, parsley root, or salsify (avoid beets), washed and peeled.
- 3 T unsalted butter
- ¼ c. coarsely chopped sage
- 1 ¼ t. kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 T maple syrup
- 2 t. fresh lemon juice
After washing and peeling (discard outer peels), continue to peel the vegetables from their tops to the root tips to produce ribbons, rotating the roots on their axis a quarter turn after each strip is peeled, until you’re left with cores that are too small to work with. (You can snack on these or save them for stock.) Alternately, you may use a mandoline.
Melt the butter with the sage in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir for a minute to partially cook the sage. Add the root ribbons and toss them with tongs until they begin to wilt. Add the salt, a good grinding of black pepper, the maple syrup, lemon juice, and about 3/4 cup of water.
Continue to cook the vegetables over medium heat, turning them with tongs every minute or so, until all the liquid boils away and the ribbons are glazed and tender, about 10 minutes total. Serve right away, or cool and reheat in the skillet when ready to serve.
Roasted Medley of Winter Roots
- 1-1/2 to 2 cups each of parsnips, carrots, beets, and turnips (or use sweet potato, Brussels sprouts, Jerusalem artichoke, kabocha, or really anything you find at the winter farmer’s market)
- 10 to 12 cloves garlic, peeled
- 12 to 15 small white boiling onions or 1 cup pearl onions (walnut-size), peeled
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary or thyme
- 3 small bay leaves
- 2-1/2 Tbs. melted unsalted butter
- 1-1/2 Tbs. vegetable oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oven to 400°F.
Peel the parsnips and carrots and cut into 2 and 1/2 inch sticks.
Peel and cut turnips into large wedges
Peel and cut beets into large (3/4-inch) dice (red beets will turn the lighter veggies pink, golden beets will not)
Dump the vegetables into a large, low-sided roasting pan or onto a heavy, rimmed baking sheet; they should be just one layer deep.
Toss in the herbs and drizzle on the butter and oil.
Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat the vegetables evenly.
Roast, tossing with a spatula a few times, until the vegetables are very tender and browned in spots, about 50 min.
Discard the bay leaves.
Note: if you like more sweetness, especially if you eliminate the beets, add 1/4 c, honey or maple syrup and 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar, whisk with oil/butter and toss vegetables before roasting.
Carrot Ginger Soup
- 1 1/2 lbs carrots (you could also add some parsnips, sweet potato or other root veggies you like)
- 1 T. butter or olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1 T. grated fresh ginger or 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 c. chicken broth or vegetable broth
- 3 T. slivered almonds (optional)
- 1 T. lemon juice
Scrub and chop carrots. In a large pot over medium-high heat. warm the oil. Add the onions, garlic, and ginger and cook, stirring, until the onions are soft, about 3 minutes.
Add the broth and carrots and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until the carrots are tender, about 25 minutes.
Whirl almonds and soup in a blender or food processor until smooth, or blend with a hand-held blender in the pot. Stir in lemon juice and serve hot. Garnish with chopped herbs or freshly ground black pepper.
Note: If you want a creamier soup, add cream or milk at the end and reheat slowly.