Root vegetables are just about the only thing you can get fresh and locally-grown in Ontario in the winter. Aside from the obvious carrots and potatoes I haven't really done much with root vegetables. Sure I've had parsnips (Dad makes and amazing parsnip puree) and beets (since they are all the rage in salads these days) but have never felt compelled to cook them. A few weeks ago the boy and I went to dinner at a friends house where they served a nice roast with some delicious oven roasted vegetables, among the veg were beets which the boy made clear that he loved and that my cooking them was the true way to his heart. Now, let me tell you these were not comments I took lightly, not that I felt the need to feed my way to the boys heart, but I'm pro any vegetable that he's excited about plus I really enjoyed the oven roasted beets and this is coming from someone who's never been a big fan of this brightly colored root vegetable.
I try to roast a chicken every other week mainly because it's so easy and it gives us leftovers for a day or so but also because it's just such a great Sunday night meal and perfect in the winter. I took my last roasted chicken as an opportunity to do a real one pot/pan meal, something my dishwasher (the boy) was all for, and just threw in a ton of vegetables. See below for how I did it:
Oven Roasted Root Vegetables
2-4 parsnips - peeled and chopped into approx 2 inch pieces (make each piece about the same size)
4 beets - peeled and quartered
4 red potatoes - quartered
2 small onions - quartered
5 cloves of garlic - smashed and peeled
8 sprigs of thyme
4 sprigs of rosemary
1 lemon cut into wedges
1/4 olive oil
3 Tbsps unsalted butter
salt & pepper
1. Spread vegetables and garlic in the bottom of the roasting pan, toss with oil, salt & pepper.
2. Squeeze 1/2 of the lemons over the vegetables and toss all wedges into the pan. Dot with butter and toss fresh herbs on top.
3. Place prepared whole chicken on top (I used this roast chicken) and cook according to the chicken (or other roast) directions.
Next time you make any kind of roast you have to throw some root vegetables in with them. Whatever you have on hand, it doesn't matter. This simple recipe at the bottom of my roasting pan turned my roast chicken into a full meal. While there are no green vegetables going on here but you've got a ton of vitamin C in the parsnips and potatoes as well as antioxidants and potassium in the beets. Overall it was an easy, tasty and completely satisfying meal and one you should make for someone you love sometime soon. Enjoy!