Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Roasted Winter Vegetables

One of the best parts of the weather turning cooler is that you can turn your oven on (and crank it up!) without melting down your whole house. Just as grilling tends to be a summer cooking method - roasting tends to be a cooler weather cooking method. And boy-howdee! I am super glad roasting time is here - because it is my most favorite way to eat lots and lots of winter veggies. 

If you are new to roasting (meat OR veggies) I want you to hop on over to the Food $ense Cooking Skills website. There are lots of techniques there to learn, but specifically check out Roasting. 

Although I am using Brussel Sprouts here - you can use this technique for almost any vegetable - but hardy winter ones (such as coniferous and root vegetables are especially wonderful done this way)

To roast vegetables: 

Chop vegetables into uniform sizes, usually about a 1-inch cube. 

Combine with olive oil and the herbs and spices desired. Coating the vegetables with oil will help reduce the amount of moisture that escapes. Dried out vegetables are not as delicious and savory as those that retain their moisture. The oil also helps them not stick to the pan or to each other. Put coated vegetables on a baking sheet. Don't crowd; they should be in a single layer. Crowding them steams them rather than roasting them and they lose that roasted flavor and texture. 

Position the vegetables near the edge of the sheet. Those on the edge usually brown better, but it depends on the oven. If you are lucky enough to have a convection oven use it!

Stir your vegetables occasionally (about every 10-15 minutes). This will help them all cook properly and develop a delicious flavor. While a low to medium heat (200º-375º) is often preferred for meats because it helps their moisture and tenderness, it is best to use a high heat, (400º) and above to roast vegetables. 

Here is a veggie chart from the wonderful people at Food $ense that will help you with individual veggies.