Wednesday, April 09, 2008
ROASTED ROOT VEGETABLES WITH SAUSAGE
This is one of the easiest and best improvisational dishes I’ve tried in a while. I just wish I’d thought of it first, but the credit goes to Not Eating Out in New York. So simple, yet so genius! I’ve often roasted a similar assortment of vegetables alongside a chicken, but it had never occurred to me that another, quicker-cooking meat like sausage would be an even easier way to round out the meal. (Plus, sausage and potatoes are a classic combination.) This versatile recipe is a great way to use whatever vegetables are in season at the market, especially in this early springtime when the asparagus and peas are slow in coming and the same root vegetables we’ve been eating all winter are still staring us in the face week after week. This meal bridges the gap: kind of wintery (hearty and roasty) but kind of springy (simple and colorful). And it’s incredibly versatile. I used a rainbow of different small potatoes, yams, carrots, and parsnips; I also had a pound of tricolor pearl onions getting old in my pantry, so I threw those in. The original recipe recommends adding grape tomatoes, which weren’t in season yet, so I skipped them, but I bet they would be great. I could also envision adding asparagus, green beans, zucchini, or squash to the mix, depending on the time of year.
I used chicken sausage—a kind from Trader Joe’s I hadn’t tried before, “spicy Italian with red wine and quattro formaggio.” The spiciness level was perfect—not overwhelming, but enough to balance out the sweetness of the vegetables—and the flavor was good, but the cheesy smell of the sausage was a little off-putting to me. I think I’d try a different kind next time, since there are so many out there to choose from, and each would impart a different quality to the dish.
The original recipe offers more precise timing directions, but I played fast and loose, just dumping everything in the pan and roasting until it looked like the right level of doneness to me. I’m rarely so devil-may-care with my cooking, but that’s the magic of this recipe, I guess. This is a keeper with a capital K. I think the best part was that it’s fun to eat, because each bite presented a different combination of flavors. I highly recommend eating a piece of sausage with a piece of sweet potato, and for the next forkful, a piece of potato with a big clove of garlic. Heaven!
1 pound small potatoes (red, Yukon Gold, fingerling, or a mix)
2 pounds assorted root vegetables (such as yams, carrots, parsnips, turnips, or beets)
1 onion, peeled and cut into wedges, or a handful of peeled pearl onions
4–5 whole fresh garlic cloves, peeled
1 teaspoon rosemary leaves
2–3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
4–5 fresh sausages (any kind)
A handful of grape tomatoes (optional)
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut vegetables down to 1-to-2-inch pieces of equal size. Mix potatoes, root vegetables, onion, garlic, rosemary, and salt and pepper to taste in a large baking dish. Coat with a drizzle of olive oil, cover with tin foil or a lid, and bake until tender, about 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, brown sausages on all sides in a pan or on a grill. Blot excess grease with paper towels and slice into 1-inch pieces. Remove baking dish from oven and arrange sausages and grape tomatoes (if using) atop the vegetables. Return to the oven for another 10–15 minutes, or until vegetables are browned. Toss with parsley and serve.
Time: 1 hour