December 1, 2017

How to get the most out of winter vegetables

Colorado culinary arts students after seasonal inspiration for the winter should look to the ground. The colder months are a great opportunity to explore the flavors and textures of favorites like root vegetables and squash in your dishes. With the right preparation, a tasty blend of produce can be the foundation for a variety of delicious meals.

Simple, yet delightful, roasted veggies

“When it comes to preparing vegetables, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel.”

When it comes to preparing vegetables, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Roasting a combination of quality produce with some seasoning is enough to give you a fantastic side dish. The Food Network’s Ina Garten suggested bringing together carrots, parsnips, sweet potato and butternut squash.

Cut the veggies into cubes of about an inch and set them on a baking sheet. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 to 35 minutes, flipping once.

When the vegetables are tender, remove from the oven and sprinkle on parsley. Add more seasoning to taste and serve.

Bring seasonal taste to a pot roast

A slowly cooked pot roast is a fantastic winter comfort food, especially when complemented by an assortment of root vegetables. Bon Appetit provided a flavor-packed recipe that’s ideal for a frosty evening.

Start by mixing paprika, thyme, golden brown sugar, dry mustard, salt and pepper. Rub the spices onto a four-pound, boneless beef chuck roast tied with string.

Brown bacon in a large, ovenproof pot over medium heat and then drain onto paper towels. Pour out most of the drippings, leaving behind two tablespoons. Bring the heat to medium-high and brown the beef, cooking for about 12 minutes.

Move the meat onto a plate, and pour two cups of dry red wine into the pot. Scrape up the brown bits as you heat to a boil and reduce to about half a cup. Add chicken broth and the bacon before setting the beef on top with onions, shallots, garlic and bay leaves around it.

Cover the pot and move into a 350-degree oven. After an hour, turn the beef over and stir the onions. Roast another hour, throwing in water if necessary.

Transfer the meat to a plate and stir carrots, celery and parsnips into the pot. Place the beef back on top and return to the oven another 45 minutes, or until everything is tender. Move the meat onto a platter and skim fat off the sauce’s surface before seasoning to taste and pouring over the top.

Winter produce can bring color and flavor to the table.Winter produce can bring color and flavor to the table.

Spice up kale and sweet potatoes

Celebrate the winter by making a gratin that features distinctively savory pie spices as well as seasonal produce with directions from Saveur. Start by smashing three cloves of garlic and seasoning with salt. Cut and scrape into a paste.

Move the garlic paste into a pot along with peeled and sliced sweet potatoes, chopped kale, half-and-half, cinnamon, butter, salt, pepper and grated nutmeg. Stir as you bring the mixture to a boil on medium-high heat. Cook for eight to 10 minutes.

When the potatoes are tender and the liquid thickens, transfer to a baking dish coated with butter. Smooth off the top and cover with grated white cheddar. Bake at 400 degrees for up to 30 minutes, or until the top is a golden brown. Allow to cool and set before serving.

It may be cold and dreary out, but that’s no reason to stop cooking with fresh produce. Budding chefs working toward a culinary arts certificate online will find many great ways to use winter veggies in their dishes.