UNFORTUNATELY the temperatures are on their way back down but that certainly doesn’t mean the end of fresh flavours in the kitchen! There are many garden items that are peaking right now and the fall harvest is a great time for Tastitude. Beets, various squashes, apples, potatoes, carrots and pumpkin, brussel sprouts, broad beans, cabbage, kohlrabi, parsnips, rutabagas, chard, turnip and squash are all on the menu this month and there are no shortage of amazing recipes that will keep your taste buds in happy mode.
Fall vegetables are great in a broad range of delicious soups and of course what would a hearty stew be without the bounty of the fall harvest? Baking becomes somehow warmer with the delicious flavours that fall has to offer.
From breads and pies to cakes and quiches the fall harvest makes baking that much more enjoyable and the warm rich aromas of fall spices make baking even more special at this time of year.
One of my absolute favourite ways to highlight the flavours of fall is to do beautiful oven roasted vegetables. The beauty of oven roasting is its ease and simplicity. You can also kill two birds with one stone by adding potato into your roast there is no need to do a side starch with dinner. A gorgeous pile of roasted potato and veg topped with a great steak or some delicious roasted chicken and you can have a whole meal with one third of the trouble.
Prepping vegetables for roasting isn’t difficult by cutting the vegetables into uniform shapes and sizes, seasoning well and roasting properly you’ll have a winning dish every time. Using ingredients like flavoured olive oils, honey, brown sugar, molasses, garlic, fresh herbs, balsamic vinegar and seasonings you can very easily turn your vegetables into the star of the meal.
You can oven roast almost anything that is part of the fall harvest and make something tasty and warming. One of the easiest ways to ensure success when oven roasting vegetables is to use high roasting temperature for a short period of time. It is especially important when adding flavourings that contain high sugar content like honey, brown sugar and molasses to use them in moderation.
High temperature roasting allows the vegetables to caramelize and reduces moisture loss which keeps the vegetables from shrinking as much. This makes for flavourful and delicious vegetables but keeps them from overcooking before the desired browning is reached.
It’s important to be sure vegetables are evenly coated with oil to ensure that they don’t dry out during roasting. Stir vegetables multiple times while roasting so they cook evenly. If you are going to do multiple vegetables in a single roasted dish you have to consider the varying cook times vegetables have.
For instance vegetables like turnips take a lot longer to cook than an onion so you will have to add them at different times to ensure that quicker cooking vegetables don’t end up over cooked.
If you have lots of oven space you can toss your vegetables in the same oil and seasoning mixture but place each vegetable type in different pans having them all ready for the oven at their designated times.
The other option is to use one pan only but keep the vegetables separated and add them in according to their pre-determined cook times. Option one is great for preparation and is convenient but definitely makes for more dishes. Option two is a little less convenient and requires more additions and stir time but yields less cleanup at the end.
You can choose whichever method works best for you and so long as you follow these simple tips you’ll end up with a great side dish. Here’s a recipe that will get you started on the road to delicious fall harvest eating.
Honey Roasted Root Vegetables
- 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped potato
- 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped peeled sweet potato
- 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped peeled turnip
- 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped parsnip
- 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped carrot
- 1/4 cup buckwheat honey
- 4 tbsp. olive oil
- 4 cloves whole, peeled garlic
- Salt and pepper to taste
Pre-heat oven to 450F
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss well. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay out vegetables in an even layer.
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until vegetables are caramelized and cooked through.
Richard Moorey (aka Chef House) can be reached with email to firstname.lastname@example.org, through his website at www.evot.ca, or on his Facebook group Evolution of Tastitude. You can follow him on Twitter @House_74.