Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Balsamic Root Vegetables

Usually, when you're cooking a turkey dinner, you have to figure out how to keep everything hot at the same time, right? This can sometimes be tricky, since the turkey is taking up all the room in the oven. Often times, it's easiest to have all of your side dishes ready to go, and then when you take the turkey out, you put the side dishes in. The turkey has to rest anyway, so now you can cook everything else. Great.
 But wait! What if everything doesn't fit in your oven at the same time? Well, here's a solution. Use your counter top instead! I'm talking about your crock pot, of course. You can set this up the night before, turn it on when you put your turkey in the oven, and boom, everybody gets to the finish line at the same time. Problem solved! So now, Brian, you don't have to get nervous when I mention "oven management". This recipe is fabulously delicious, and it's just as easy. Even if you've never cooked a thing in your life (just like Brian), you can absolutely do this one. If you can peel a potato, you're halfway there!
I saw this recipe in a magazine, and I liked the idea of  cooking the vegetables with balsamic vinegar. It reminded me of seeing Jamie Oliver making different kinds of oven roasted vegetables and he used a different kind of vinegar for each one. Fabulous. Every other ingredient in this recipe has a natural sweetness and the vinegar balances everything beautifully. The final dish kind of reminds you of pot roast vegetables, only they have a little extra tang and a little extra sweet. Jason gave them a big 'thumbs up' when I was testing the recipe. I think you'll give them a big 'thumbs up' too!

1 1/2 lbs fresh sweet potatoes
1 lb fresh parsnips
1 lb baby carrots
2 large red onions
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 tbs brown sugar
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
3 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper
fresh flat leave parsley, if desired

Peel sweet potatoes and parsnips. Cut into 1 inch pieces. Peel and roughly chop onions. In a lightly buttered 6-qt crock pot, stir together the parsnips, carrots, onions and cranberries. Layer the sweet potatoes on top. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, vinegar, oil, and salt and pepper. Drizzle over potatoes. Do not stir. Place lid on top. Cook on high heat for 4-5 hours. Toss with chopped parsley, if desired, just before serving.

When you whisk up the vinegar mixture, you'll think that there must be a typo and that this couldn't possibly be enough liquid, but trust me. It'll be the perfect amount. There's plenty of moisture in the rest of the veggies.
I'm sure you could change the amounts of vegetables to suit your likes or dislikes. Maybe you're not feeling the parsnips, but you love carrots. So add more carrots and omit the parsnips. Cook what you like! I thought of adding fresh beets to the mix, but then of course realized that it would turn everything red. Not that it would be a bad thing, but it was just a thought.

No comments: