It is undoubtedly winter. The cold temps are a great reason to fire up the oven. This time of year the produce lends itself to delicious roasted vegetables. Roasting is one of my favorite ways to enjoy vegetables. Its quick and easy and, with this weeks “4PM Panic” post, I’m sharing some tips on roasting your favorites. Tonight I’m serving them tossed with pasta. At Heinen’s, I also picked up Amylu’s Chicken Sausages which are stuffed with Gouda cheese and apples.
I’ve used this sausage countless times tossed into pasta sauce, chili and soups. Recently, I stopped by a friend’s house at dinner time and she insisted I stay. She was serving Amylu’s chicken sausage simply sautéed in a pan on her stove top. She simply browned the sausages and served them with a delicious rice and a salad. Finally I’ve tasted these sausages alone without any sauce and they were SCRUMPTIOUS! Thanks for the yummy impromptu dinner M.L. and the inspiration for this week’s post.
Roasting vegetables in a very hot oven gives them a caramelized exterior and flavor while keeping the inside moist and tender.
Best Veggies: Some vegetables especially benefit from roasting, such as onions, potatoes, carrots, beets, winter squash, carrots, and other hearty root vegetables, but most vegetables will work. Tender vegetables, such as asparagus and mushrooms, also transform in the heat of the oven.
Less-Good Veggies: Green beans, broccoli, and other green-hue vegetables are not as well suited for roasting because they tend to turn olive green, and the green beans shrivel before becoming tender. A real benefit to roasting is the ability to cook a combination of colorful vegetables, resulting in a full-flavor side dish or meatless entree.
This week I’m giving you more of a “how-to” than a recipe. The ingredients will be up to you and your family. Sometimes this is the meal I make to use up all the left over random vegetables in my refrigerator.
Temp: Preheat the oven to 450°F. Roasting vegetables should be done at high heat so they caramelize on the outside. If the oven temperature is too low, the vegetables will overcook before achieving the desired browning.
Mixture: Tossing the vegetables with a good olive oil and kosher salt and cracked black pepper. It keeps them from drying out and helps to flavor the vegetables. You can also season them with your favorite herbs or garlic powder but I prefer to use fresh herbs and whole garlic when ever possible when roasting vegetables.
Pan: A heavy 13×9-inch roasting pan works well for roasting vegetables, but you can also use a large half sheet baking pan. To keep cleanup to a minimum, line the pan with foil or parchment. Cut your vegetables into similar sized pieces so they cook evenly. Place the vegetables that take the longest to cook in the pan first then add the less dense vegetables a few minutes in to the cooking time. Do not crowd the vegetables or they will steam instead of roast. If you like, add 1 or 2 heads garlic with the tops trimmed off, several sprigs of thyme, and/or snipped fresh rosemary, oregano, or sage.
Technique: Roast the vegetables, uncovered, about 15 minutes, stirring once. Remove the pan from the oven and add the vegetables with shorter cooking times. Toss to combine and return to the oven. Continue to cook about 10 to 15 minutes more or until the vegetables are tender and brown on the edges, stirring occasionally. The timings here are approximate and will depend on the vegetables you choose.
For the Sausage
I warmed a sauté pan on my cooktop with a small amount of oil, (1 teaspoon) Place the whole sausages in the pan and cook turning them until brown on all sides. If not cooked through when browned add 1/4 cup of water to the hot pan and cover it for 2 minutes. This will steam the sausages and finish the cooking process.
Tonight I also roasted a few sweet potatoes to have with dinner but more to have as left overs for tomorrows lunch. Cut two or three sweet potatoes, washed with skins on, into evenly sized wedges. Toss them with about 2 Tablespoons of olive oil and some kosher salt. Roast in the oven with the roasted vegetables. They take about the same amount of time. We love them with a chipolte mayo.
So next time you sense that pre-dinner “4PM Panic” approaching, I hope this post inspires you to try Roasted Vegetables and Amylu’s Chicken Sausages for a solution that’s quick, easy and delicious!