I usually do my traditional recipes for Thanksgiving. I do not do anything spectacular for the turkey (butter and Bell’s Poultry Seasoning under the skin and apple, lemon and herbs in the cavity) and I have already posted my Thanksgiving stuffing. Chris, my son-in-law, requested my cauliflower au gratin (yes, this is the third time in three weeks—he and Jan really like this dish). Other dishes we made this year were Jan’s Cranberry Cumberland Sauce and Jan’s Pecan Pumpkin Pie (this was just her pumpkin pie topped with pecans). The other dish that Jan requested for this year was mixed roasties.
When we went to New Zealand, we learned the word “roasties,” which refers to roasted root vegetables. In New Zealand, this usually refers to kumara, a fingerling sweet potato, but the term can be used for any roasted root vegetable. We cannot get real kumara in America, so we will have to substitute.
Last week we went to The Milk Pail in Mountain View. This is one of those little stores that cater to people from “other” places. If you are looking for “goodies” from Greater Europe or Russia, they just might have it. Jan found the elder flower syrup—that she loved in England—that she thought she could only find on-line.
I do most of the shopping in our family. I decide what I am going to make and I go and buy the ingredients (like a man buying pants—“Here’s some that fit”—and done). Jan is one of those—“This looks good, let’s try that….” As a result, instead of roasted potatoes, we now have a mix of different root vegetables that I must figure out how to cook so that they are all done at the same time.
We have varietal carrots, Yukon Gold potatoes, purple potatoes, Jewel yams, sweet potatoes, and swedes (sounds so much more appealing than rutabagas). Chris requested turnips, the only root vegetable he is allowed on his diet. Jan also wanted roasted garlic to squeeze onto the roasted vegetables. All of these have different cooking times, so it is going to be a challenge to make it work.
Karl’s Mixed Roasties
2 heads of garlic
4 lbs. mixed root vegetables (carrots, potatoes, yams, swedes, turnips, etc.)
2 Tbs. lemon juice
2 green onions, sliced fine, keep white parts separate
8 cloves garlic, crushed
4+ Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. fresh thyme
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. black pepper
¼ cup parsley, coarsely chopped
1. Prep all the rest of the vegetables. Put them in a pot of cool water with some lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown.
Note: To peel or not to peel, that is the question. The peels of some root vegetables add an attractive color highlight to this dish. Other peels are unattractive or just plain inedible. I usually peel the carrots and turnips, although this is not necessary, because it makes them more attractive. For most potatoes, I will cut any obvious bad spots out, but I will usually leave the skins on. The skins of true sweet potatoes and swedes (rutabagas) are usually too damaged to be attractive (they bruise easily in transport).
3. Slice all of the vegetables into about one inch chunks. Keep each pile separate.
Tip: You may try to cut all of the pieces the about the same size or make each one a unique shape for easy identification later.
4. Pre-heat the oven to 400° F.
5. Slice the off the top of the heads of the garlic about half an inch from the top. Place the heads in a small oven safe bowl with a lid and drizzle some olive oil over them. Sprinkle with salt. Cover and roast for 50 minutes to one hour until soft and well browned.
Tip: Save the top bits of garlic for the marinade.
6. Add the green onions, white parts only, garlic, olive oil, thyme, pepper, and salt into a bowl. Mix to combine.
7. Toss each vegetable in the marinade and place it on a shallow-lipped baking pan. The potatoes will take the longest time to cook and the turnips will take the shortest.
Note: I plan to keep each set of vegetables separate, so though I will be using one baking pan I will be roasting them in separate piles. I them plan to present them in groups on the serving plate. If you prefer you may stir in each vegetable as you add it to the sheet for a mixed vegetable dish.
8. Spread potatoes in a one corner of the roasting pan in a single layer and roast in the oven for 10 minutes.
9. Coat the carrots in the marinade and spread them in a second corner of the pan. Continue roasting for 5 more minutes.
Note: I had so many vegetables I eventually had to use two roasting pans.
10. Coat the remaining vegetables and spread them on the pan. Continue roasting for 20 to 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to prevent them from burning on the bottoms, until the vegetables are tender, browned and caramelized.
11. Arrange the vegetables on a serving platter and garnish with the parsley and green onion tops.