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Cooking With Root Vegetables

By: Anna Hinds BA (hons) - Updated: 17 Oct 2010 | comments*Discuss
Cooking With Root Vegetables

Do you love or hate root vegetables? It's the law of nature that those you dislike will be the ones that do best in your garden! So just what can you do with all those extra parsnips? Even root vegetable lovers run out of inventive ways to cook them. But don’t worry – we’ve got recipes for root vegetable fans AND foes!

Cooking Root Vegetables

Root vegetables can be used in many ways: traditionally, parsnips and carrots are roasted in the tray with a shoulder of lamb or a joint of beef. But you can roast root vegetables on their own, too, and don’t just stick to parsnips and carrots. Baby turnips, celeriac, Jerusalem artichokes, and even beetroot all roast beautifully. The heat extracts the excess water and caramelises the outside, drawing out the vegetables’ natural sweetness. Roasted roots are lovely as a side dish.

If you steam, watch the vegetables carefully so they don’t get overcooked; adding wine or stock to the steaming water is a good way to impart extra flavour. Steamed roots are perfect for pie filling – layer them with raw sliced leeks and plenty of grated cheddar and bake in a shortcrust pastry case. If you’re looking for something a bit different, try a root rosti: parboil large chunks of celeriac, Jerusalem artichoke, potato and carrot, then coarsely grate and mix with an egg. Pat the mixture into rosti and fry or bake until golden. A Pot Roast is an easy option, where sturdy root vegetables, onion and herbs are put into a sturdy ovenproof pot with a joint and a little stock, and braised in the oven for a long time.

Love Root Vegetables? Try a Root Vegetable Cider Stew Recipe

Here’s one for the root fans! Choose a variety of vegetables to make this delicious stew – celeriac, carrot, parsnip, swede, Jerusalem artichoke, and potato are all great.

You need:

  • 1kg mixed root vegetables, chopped into 1” chunks.
  • 1-2tbsp dried porcini, soaked and finely chopped.
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 6-8 shallots or baby onions, peeled.
  • 400ml vegetable stock.
  • 200ml dry cider or perry.
  • 1 bay leaf.
  • 1tsp fresh sage, chopped (optional).
  • Salt and pepper.
  • 1tsp cornflour.
  • 1tsp mustard powder.

Heat 1-2tbsp olive oil in a casserole pan and add the whole shallots and garlic; fry gently for a few minutes. Add the root vegetables and chopped porcini, and stir for another couple of minutes. Now pour in the cider and stock, tuck in the bay leaf and sprinkle in the sage. Bring gently to the boil and let the stew simmer for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are almost tender. Dissolve the cornflour and mustard powder in a little water and stir into the casserole to thicken it. Cook for another 3-5 minutes until the vegetables are all done. Serve with crusty bread or dumplings.

Hate Root Vegetables? Try a smooth Root Vegetable Soup Recipe!

This soup is very nutritious and tasty – even for root haters!

For 4 generous servings you’ll need:

  • 2 onions, finely chopped.
  • 1tbsp unsalted butter.
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed.
  • 150g chopped celeriac root
  • 2 medium parsnips, chopped.
  • 100g white cabbage, shredded.
  • 4 medium carrots, chopped.
  • 800ml vegetable stock.
  • Salt and pepper.
  • Pinch nutmeg.
  • 1tsp each of dried tarragon and dried dill.

Heat the butter in a large saucepan and soften the onion gently. After five minutes add the garlic and stir for another minute. Now add the chopped vegetables, stir to coat them in butter and cover, then leave to soften for 15 minutes on a low heat. Pour in the stock, add a generous pinch of salt and pepper, and add the herbs. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the veg are cooked. Cool slightly before blending, then reheat and serve with a spoonful of crème fraiche and chopped chives.

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