Thursday, November 11, 2004

All About the Roots

I don't know if it is a vitamin deficiency or because we had our first freeze this week, but I've been having lots of thoughts of root vegetables this past week.

On Saturday evening, while flipping channels, I ran across a cooking show featuring Lidia Bastianich. She was plating up some barbecued ribs or something, but what caught my attention were the roasted root vegetables. She'd already completed that segment and I only got a sidelong look at them, but I was intrigued.

Googling around, I couldn't find the recipes for the episode of Lidia's Italy in question, but I did find a roasted root vegetable of hers, which helped set the to-get list for the farmer's market: leeks, carrots, and potatoes (the Yukon gold looked good). For the parsnips, I had to stop at the co-op on the way home, where I also picked up some Tofurkey beer brats. The rest of the ingredients were in the cellar or fridge.
Roasted Root Vegetables
  • 3 medium leeks
  • 2 large parsnips, peeled and cut into 3-inch lengths
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 3-inch lengths
  • 2 large outer celery stalks, trimmed and cut into 3-inch lengths
  • 6 small red or white new potatoes, cut in half
  • 3 small yellow onions, peeled and cut in half through the core
  • 20 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • salt and pepper
(I cut the onions into wedges, had extra rosemary and garlic, and bigger potatoes cut into cubes). The recipe can't be simpler: toss everything in a big bowl, pour into a greased 13 × 9 and then put in a 400°F oven for about an hour, stirring occasionally to make sure things brown evenly.
It turned out very tasty; next time, I might try adding a little vegetable bouillon or even more rosemary or a little balsamic or something just to give it a little more zing.

Last night, was root vegetables redux. Thinking about the Tofurkey brats, I had some dim idea that brats might traditionally be cooked with onion, cabbage, and apples, but I wasn't sure of the specifics. It seems to be an approved combination, but it took some googling to find a recipe that suited me.
Sheboygan Skillet*
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage (original recipe has 2 pounds drained and rinsed sauerkraut)
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cups water ( or beer)
  • ½ cup apple cider or apple juice (NOT apple cider vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon bouillon granules
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seed
  • 1 pound fresh bratwurst
  • 2 medium apples, peeled, cored and sliced
In a large skillet, melt the butter and sauté the onions and garlic until tender. Stir in all other ingredients except brats and apples. Bring to a boil, uncovered.

Meanwhile, brown the brats. When the other mixture is boiling, add the brats, reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When the potatoes are tender, stir in the apples and cook, covered, a further 5 to 10 minutes, until the apples are tender.
This worked out less well than hoped, largely because — for some reason unfathomable to me but that (thankfully) makes Evelin laugh — I read "apple cider" as "apple cider vinegar." It makes no sense (and actually may add something back to the recipe since I was using fresh green cabbage instead of sauerkraut, but a half cup was way too much). The end result wasn't inedible, but it definitely was too vinegary. Since I figured out where I went wrong, Evelin may let me try this recipe again, but for a while there it looked like it was going to get written off as a bad experiment.

*The original recipe was entitled "Oktoberfest Bratwurst and Sauerkraut Skillet;" apologies to Wisconsin, but "Sheboygan Skillet" is more fun to say. Googling around, it looks like if I want to talk about Sheboygan and bratwurst, I need to try this preparation method.


Brian said...

Yep, I've noticed my body does this as well when it's not getting everything it wants.

Eat up!! :)

Anonymous said...

When you are talking Sheboygan and would NEVER say "water(or beer)". It would only be BEER! Water is for scandinavians.

T. Carter said...

I was waiting for the Midwest to weigh in on this. I'm fluent when cooking Creole vs. Cajun, but when it comes to hot dish and other Midwest cuisine, all I know is what I hear in passing on Prairie Home Companion ...

Anonymous said...

I've been doing roast vegetables for a while - I got the recipe from Nigella Lawson and it's online now too.

She puts halloumi cheese on, which is good, or you can put another cheese on at the end.

Margaret (Transblawg)

T. Carter said...

Thanks, Margaret. That does look good!