Caramelized vegetables hit the spot in autumn's menus


Entertaining: A medley of root vegetables would go well with the season's hearty entrees.

November 25, 2001|By Betty Rosbottom | Betty Rosbottom,Special to the Sun

My friends know that I am forever trying new recipes, so it was not unusual that a colleague with whom I was dining recently mentioned a new restaurant where she had enjoyed a delicious meal of simple yet beautifully prepared dishes. I began to salivate as she described the offerings of the Peerless Restaurant in Ashland, Ore., and asked my lunch partner, who has a finely tuned palate, to send me a menu and a few recipes that the chef, Stu Stein, had shared with her.

Although all the recipes were tempting, I was most enthusiastic about a side dish called Caramelized Root Vegetables. Roasting vegetables is not something new in the world of culinary creations, but what attracted me to this particular accompaniment was that the chef had combined not just two or three items (which is what I usually do), but six.

A fine mix of flavors and textures was included in his selections. Carrots, parsnips and turnips, all traditional cold-weather produce, were paired admirably with Yukon Gold potatoes, little pearl onions and whole cloves of garlic.

I made the dish once last week to serve with roast chicken and presented it later with lamb. With the arrival of late fall's brisk weather, I will return to roasting meats and poultry, especially when entertaining, and this medley of vegetables, cooked until caramelized or sweet, will make a fine garnish to such entrees.

You could serve these humble root vegetables with a roasted leg of lamb or chicken, or with a crisp duck or with a loin of pork coated with savory herbs.

Add some blanched green beans or a tossed green salad to the menu to complete the main course.

These vegetables are best when offered soon after they come out of the oven, but if you prefer you can roast them ahead and reheat them just before serving. The recipe can be doubled or tripled if necessary, but count on dividing the mixture between two baking or saute pans when increasing the original amounts.

Caramelized Root Vegetables

Makes 4 to 5 servings

4 ounces pearl onions

1 medium head garlic, separated into cloves

2 medium turnips, peeled

2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled

1 / 4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if needed

4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch lengths

2 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 2-inch lengths

kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley

Set medium saucepan filled , full with water over high heat and bring to boil. Add onions and boil 1 minute or slightly longer to loosen skins. Remove with slotted spoon. When onions are cool enough to handle, use paring knife to loosen skins, slip them off and discard. Set onions aside.

Lightly smash each garlic clove with side of large knife to loosen peel. Remove peel and set garlic aside. Halve turnips and potatoes lengthwise, then cut each half into 1-inch slices. Set vegetables aside.

In large, heavy, flameproof roasting pan or in large ovenproof saute pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add turnips, potatoes, carrots, parsnips and garlic and saute, stirring, 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 / 4 teaspoon pepper.

Transfer pan with vegetables to oven. Roast on center rack at 350 degrees, stirring every 5 minutes, until vegetables are lightly browned and tender when pierced with knife, 30 to 35 minutes. If vegetables start to stick to bottom of pan while roasting, add another 1 to 2 tablespoons oil. Remove pan from oven. Season with more salt and pepper if needed.

Arrange vegetables on serving plate and sprinkle with parsley. Serve hot as accompaniment to roasted meat or poultry.

(Adapted from a recipe from the Peerless Restaurant in Ashland, Ore.)

Distributed by the Los Angeles Times Syndicate International, a division of Tribune Media Services.

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