Something important to me, and I am not alone, is cooking with fresh, quality, sustainable ingredients, and eating local, and in season much of the time. It is my desire to do what I can to reduce food waste, increase food knowledge, availability, confidence in cooking, and overall health of all the people who are interested in hearing what I have to say. I try not to sound too preachy, but you will find this evident in my writing, so get ready for it.
I have been writing about oven roasted vegetables since I "started writing” in 2010. I roast vegetables more than I do anything else in the kitchen. Cooking eggs is becoming a close second (thanks to my amazing hens), but I’ve been consistently roasting vegetables for many, many more years.
I will continually present my favorite recipes in this blog, and you’ll find the inclusion of the Oven Roasted Vegetables quite regularly. My freezer hosts frozen Oven Roasted Vegetables in zippy freezer bags in cube shapes for quick access to delicious/nutritious vegetables. It is all about bringing out their best natural flavor, creating an easy to use healthy vegetables to a huge assortment of meals, and even finding a less intimidating way to try out something new. Have you tried a rutabaga? Had a less than thrilling experience with a turnip? Just discovered non-staining varieties of beets? What the what is kohlrabi? This is such a great way to brave new produce each season.
Oven Roasted Vegetables can stand alone, be a side dish, or combine them with cooked meats and melty cheeses over polenta, rice or pasta. Add to an an omelet, put in savory bread puddings, they're great in macaroni and cheese and in a gratin. Whiz up and serve as dip, whiz up and mix into hummus. Puree to hide in soups and sauces to pack a secret nutritional punch… … … the list goes on and on. This is why you will regularly hear about Oven Roasted Vegetables from me.
Autumn Oven Roasted Vegetable and Chicken Stew
I made a nice hearty autumn vegetable and chicken stew tonight. I really like big chunks of thigh meat for this, but using chicken apple sausage, Italian sausage, or even applewood smoked bacon, it would make this the “best ever” also. What I’m getting at is that this is super versatile, forgiving, and delicious dish. It’s an easy adjustment for a terrific vegetarian or vegan dish too! This soup takes under an hour from scratch, and is a fantastic, stick to your ribs meal, particularly with a whole wheat baguette and fresh Parmesano.
You use what you find in season. This is what was locally available to me this afternoon ~ Acorn Squash, Red Onion, White Onion, Rutabaga, Turnip, Potato, Portabella Mushroom, Zucchini, diced or cubed (it's just a matter of size) 2 pounds Chicken*, cubed 1/2 cup All Purpose Flour 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano Fresh Ground Pepper and Salt to taste Olive Oil 4 cups Chicken Stock Pesto garnish
Determine if you’re eating the skin/seeds of each vegetable (zucchini-yes, acorn squash-no). Dice vegetables in a way that they will finish cooking at more or less the same time. Have at least two jelly roll pans going, so you can group items that are similarly firm (rutabaga/turnip/potato/acorn squash vs zucchini/mushroom for instance). OR dice the vegetables to different sizes based on cooking time (rutabaga/turnip/potato vs. onions/zucchini).
Toss the vegetables with oil. I use olive or coconut oil. Place on reusable parchment paper on jellyroll pans for easy cleanup while eliminating sticking and burning. Roast in preheated 400°F oven for 25-35 minutes, until golden brown, tossing once in the middle of the roasting time.
Combine in a bowl ~
1/2 cup All Purpose Flour 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
Fresh Ground Pepper and Salt to taste
Place Dutch Oven on burner at medium heat with a few tablespoons of oil, enough to coat the bottom. Cube two pounds chicken. Toss chicken into the flour mixture, completely coating. Make less of a mess by reserving each hand for either wet (before flouring) or dry (after flouring) chicken handling. Place the chicken in the Dutch Oven and brown in two batches. The purpose of this is to allow even browning and reduce steaming.
Once evenly browned, return all the chicken into the Dutch Oven, add 2-3 cups of cooked kidney beans (rehydrated or canned) and the oven roasted vegetables. Add two cups chicken stock, stir while bringing to a simmer. As the liquid thickens, add another two cups, one at a time, allowing it to thicken between additions.
Pesto Garnish ~
4 cups fresh basil leaves 1/2 cup olive oil 1/3 cup nuts (pine nuts are classic, but I will often use other favorites like almonds and pecans) 2 garlic cloves 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesano
Whiz it up in a food processor or mortar and pestle. You will not need all of this, but you should freeze the remaining balance in ice cube trays for future use.
Place stew in a bowl and drizzle with pesto. Serve.
* Get the best chicken you can, don’t get chicken juice all over the place, and clean up well. Believe me when I say that a quality chicken eats a varied diet, was given the room to know how to walk, wasn't pumped full of hormones, antibiotics, or steroids, saw sunlight, and is better in every way than a chicken that wasn’t cooped up in a factory farm.