Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Roasted Vegetables - all sorts

Roasted Veggies are a quick, easy and a very tasty alternative to steamed vegetables. Roasting concentrates flavors by evaporating some of the moisture and ups the ante by browning. Browning means flavor. I'm sure someone is looking at the above picture of roasted carrots thinking "Those are burned!" but they are not. As we say in the restaurant kitchen, they are well-caramelized. :-) Trust me. I ate them and they aren't burned.

Roasted veggies are great right out of the oven (careful! they are mighty hot) and they are great as a leftover. They can be added to soups, salads, omelets. Even a delicious snack, hot or cold.

The procedure for roasting is the same: grease up the veg, give a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper, and stick in a hot oven until just tender. Give them a stir halfway cooking to even up the browning. How long it takes depends on how big you cut the chunks of vegetable and how dense the vegetable is (carrots and Brussels sprouts are dense, broccoli and asparagus are not).

A hot oven and oil are key ingredients. No oil and the vegetables will steam. Not hot enough, the vegetables will overcook before they brown. But, once you figure it out, it's really easy.

Be careful when mixing different vegetables. It works if they will all cook in a similar amount of time. So, carrots and Brussels sprouts will work but carrots and green beans will not. When the green beans are done, the carrots will still be raw and by the time the carrots are done, the green beans will be sad, wilted and overcooked. Or plan to throw the green beans in after the carrots have had some alone time in the oven.

Here's some good vegetable choices for roasted vegetables. Roasting temperature is 400° F.
  • Asparagus: 10 minutes for medium stalks, 5-7 for skinny stalks
  • Beets: 30 minutes for baby beets, an hour for bigger beets. I like to leave them whole because they are easier to peel that way.
  • Broccoli: 10 minutes
  • Brussels sprouts: 30 minutes
  • Carrots: 25-30 minutes
  • Cauliflower: 25 minutes
  • Green beans: 10 minutes
  • Mushrooms: 10-20 minutes, whole. I don't like them raw in the middle so I cook them 20 minutes.
  • Potatoes: 25-45 minutes, cut into chunks. Fingerlings can be roasted whole.
  • Sweet Potatoes: 30 minutes cut in chunks
  • Winter squash: 30 minutes, cut into chunks

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