This time of year, farm markets, vegetable stands and community-supported agriculture (CSA) baskets fill up with root vegetables of all descriptions: large rutabagas, white and yellow turnips, golden beets, carrots, parsnips and more.
Less plentiful are ideas and recipes for using them. The vegetables can be thrown into stews and roasted in the oven. But when company's coming or I am catering to a vegetable-phobic crowd, I fall back on glazing, a method I learned in cooking school. The vegetables steam in the pan in a sweetened liquid, and as they near tenderness, the liquid is allowed to reduce until it forms a glaze that lightly coats each piece. Even my 10-year-old does not find an excuse to skip the glazed vegetables.
I also love how I can mix and match my roots. Carrots and parsnips make a duo for a family party. Assorted roots are great for clearing out my vegetable bin. Turnips can stand on their own when that's all the CSA basket produced. The one rule I follow is to skip red or purple beets. Though golden beets bring a lovely sweetness to a dish, red beets tend to turn everything a shade of purple, which is confusing. (Think purple-tinged rutabaga.) If you want to use red beets, allow them to fly solo, or pair them with golden beets so the color doesn't compete with the flavor.
My method of glazing the vegetables used to start with a big chunk of butter. I find this slimmed-down approach works just as well.
Servings: 5 - 6
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds assorted root vegetables, such as turnips, rutabagas, carrots and golden beets, peeled and cut into 1/2- to 3/4–inch pieces
- 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup fresh apple cider
- Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon)
Combine the butter and oil in a large, deep saucepan over medium-high heat.
When the butter has melted, add the vegetables and 1/8 teaspoon of salt; toss to coat evenly. Add the cider and bring just to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and cover, adjusting the heat so the liquid boils, but not rapidly. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes, until the vegetables are barely fork-tender (they should show just a little resistance when poked with the tines of a fork or a skewer).
Uncover and bring the liquid back to a rapid boil. Cook for about 8 minutes, until the liquid has reduced to a glaze.
Sprinkle the vegetables with the nutmeg; toss to incorporate. Taste, and add salt as needed. Serve warm.
From columnist Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
Tested by Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
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