Roasted Root Vegetables

From Cook's Illustrated | November/December 2012

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Why this recipe works:

When properly roasted, root vegetables develop wonderfully complex and intense flavors. We started with sweet carrots and parsnips, whose flavors are concentrated and caramelized in the heat of the oven. By properly preparing each vegetable, we can simply roast them all together in one batch.… read more

When properly roasted, root vegetables develop wonderfully complex and intense flavors. We started with sweet carrots and parsnips, whose flavors are concentrated and caramelized in the heat of the oven. By properly preparing each vegetable, we can simply roast them all together in one batch. To speed up the cooking process, the vegetables are microwaved and then to jump-start the browning, we place them on a preheated baking sheet.

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Roasted Root Vegetables

How do you get five different vegetables to cook simultaneously in the same pan and all come out perfectly? The solution starts with the right cuts.

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Serves 6

Use turnips that are roughly 2 to 3 inches in diameter. Instead of sprinkling the roasted vegetables with chopped parsley (tarragon or chives may also be substituted), try garnishing them with one of the toppings (see related content).

Ingredients

  • 1 celery root (14 ounces), peeled
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 2 1/2-inch lengths, halved or quartered lengthwise if necessary to create 1/2 to 1 inch in diameter
  • 12 ounces parsnips, peeled and sliced 1 inch thick on bias
  • 5 ounces small shallots, peeled
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 12 ounces turnips, peeled, halved horizontally, and each half quartered
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  1. 1. Adjust oven rack to middle position, place rimmed baking sheet on rack, and heat oven to 425 degrees. Cut celery root into 3/4-inch-thick rounds. Cut each round into 3/4-inch-thick planks about 2 1/2 inches in length.

    2. Toss celery root, carrots, parsnips, and shallots with 1 teaspoon salt and with pepper to taste in large microwave-safe bowl. Cover bowl and microwave until small pieces of carrot are just pliable enough to bend, 8 to 10 minutes, stirring once halfway through microwaving. Drain vegetables well. Return vegetables to bowl, add turnips and oil, and toss to coat.

    3. Working quickly, remove baking sheet from oven and carefully transfer vegetables to baking sheet; spread into even layer. Roast for 25 minutes.

    4. Using thin metal spatula, stir vegetables and spread into even layer. Rotate pan and continue to roast until vegetables are golden brown and celery root is tender when pierced with tip of paring knife, 15 to 25 minutes longer. Transfer to platter, sprinkle with parsley, and serve.

Technique

Eliminating Moisture for Speedier Cooking

Before root vegetables can fully caramelize, any moisture they release must be driven off. To speed up the process, we microwaved all but the turnips (which cook relatively quickly without any help) before putting them in the oven. Ten minutes softened them enough that they released some of their liquid, which we simply drained off. Now the veggies browned in just 40 minutes—instead of the 90 minutes required for the oven-only approach.

Technique

Shaping Roots for Roasting

The trouble with roasting a medley of vegetables is that each type cooks at a different rate. For uniformly tender, caramelized results, cut each one into a specific shape and size.

CELERY ROOT PLANKS: A wide, flat shape accelerates the cooking and browning of this dense vegetable.

CARROT STICKS: Long, slender sticks have a large surface area that browns quickly.

PARSNIP DISKS: Cutting on the bias across the fibrous cores to create oblong disks makes each bite tender.

WHOLE SHALLOTS: Left whole, small shallots cook at the same rate as the other vegetables.

TURNIP CHUNKS: Cutting turnips into eighths minimizes the surface area of the quick-cooking, watery vegetable.

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