Roasted Vegetable Extravaganza

When there’s 42 degrees of difference between the temperature indoors and outdoors, you know it’s cold enough for heavy-duty roasting in the kitchen.  Besides helping heat the house, roasting fills a space with mouth-watering aromas while giving new life to vegetables starting to look stupid.  Roasting is also great to work double-duty, using both racks in the oven at once.  This is a useful tactic for large recipes or to make two dishes simultaneously as shown here.

So what’s cooking exactly?

On the one hand, some balsamic and wine roasted Brussel sprouts.  These are my take on the dozens of recipes bouncing around, more specifically the ones by Jae Steele and Isa Chandra Moskowitz that were my introduction to “green things” that I could actually eat with relish rather than cringing.  They’re nice to introduce Brussels to those who thought they didn’t like them, or just because we all need more of the brassica family in our diets.

The other recipe is a medley of winter vegetables with subtle spicing and a tiny touch of sweetness.  Feel free to free-form by substituting with what’s on-hand or on sale and by swapping the spices to change the flavour (for ideas, look at the spice suggestions in parentheses in the ingredient list).

While one, the other, or both of the dishes works well as a side, a hearty portion of each makes for a great vegetable-centric main course too.

What you need for the Brussel sprouts:

  • 25-30 medium sized Brussel sprouts, trimmed, scored with an “X” through the stem
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (don’t cheap out, you want the good stuff here)
  • 2 tablespoons white wine (this is where you can use the rot-gut)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste

What you do to prep the Brussel sprouts:

  1. Toss all the ingredients together in an 8″x8″ enamel or pyrex baking dish.
  2. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil.

What you need for the medley of veggie:

  • 1/2 a large head of cauliflower, cut into 1-1/2″ florets
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 3/4″ thick triangles
  • 1 large onion, chopped into 3/4″ dice
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 3/4″ dice
  • 4-6 baby potatoes, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary (or Herbes de Provence, or a tablespoon of parsley)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried marjoram (or oregano, or basil)
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried sage (or savory, or tarragon)
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste

What you do to prep the veggie medley:

  1. Toss all the ingredients together in 9″x13″ enamel or pyrex baking dish.

What you do to cook it all:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F, making sure the racks are separated to allow a baking dish on each level.
  2. Place the Brussel sprouts on top and the veggie medley on the bottom rack.
  3. Cook for 30 minutes and then uncover the Brussel sprouts, toss them around and return to the oven (still the top rack). Toss the veggies in the large baking dish and return to the bottom rack.
  4. After 15 more minutes, remove the Brussel sprouts from the oven: the cooking liquid will have pretty much evaporated. Toss the veggies in the large baking dish again and place them on the top rack while the Brussels are cooling.
  5. At the 1 hour mark (15 minutes more), remove the vegetable medley from the oven. If desired, in the last 2-3 minutes, the Brussel sprouts can be put back in the oven so they’re piping hot.
  6. Serve.

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