Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Roasted root vegetables (two by two)

I was serious when I said I love fall food. This side dish really couldn't be easier, and the simple preparation allows the flavors of the food to really come through - perfect when the flavors in question are sweet potatoes and yams!

You can vary the proportions as you like, but I think two of each is a nice balance:
2 large carrots, peeled
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled
2 medium yams, peeled
2 medium red potatoes
1 medium apple (optional, but delicious)
olive oil
black pepper (also optional)

Preheat the oven to 400°. Peel all your veggies, and cut them into 3/4" cubes, or as close to that as you can get. The red potatoes take a little longer to cook than the other veggies, so cut those into slightly smaller pieces. Throw it all together in a casserole dish, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, and bake about 10 minutes.

Slice the apples and add them in at this point. Cook another 20 minutes until the veggies start to get tender (when you poke them with a fork they should yield without a fuss) and the apples are almost falling apart. If they're still hard at this point, stir them around a little bit and check again in 10 minutes, then every 5 minutes after that. If it takes longer than an hour, there's something wrong with your oven.

This is a great any-night side dish; it works especially well with roast chicken (that unidentified brown creature next to the veggies is actually a chicken thigh in apple cider gravy) or pork. If you're having company, dress it up with a sprig of rosemary - a 2" stem laid on top of each plated portion, or a couple of stems in the casserole dish, will make you look like a culinary genius.

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