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Archive for May 18th, 2009

This colourful vegetable assortment, which can be varied as you wish, is a good accompaniment for a roast dinner and is especially useful (and easy) if you are entertaining for Sunday lunch as preparation can be done in advance.  The vegetables used can vary according to season, or availability, though I suggest that onion is an essential starting point unless you really dislike them as they give a caramelised sweetness to the dish. Apart from those listed, you can also select different root vegetables (carrot and parsnip always roast well, though I suggest that carrot is kept fairly large so it does not dry up), include aubergine or add fresh tomato (which must be added towards the end of cooking to remain fairly whole and not disintegrate). I am sure there are other good additions to experiment with, even some fruits (if you like fruit with a savoury dish).  The flavours are enhanced by the use of the olive oil and balsamic vinegar and if you wish, fresh or dried herbs. Adding pieces of parboiled potato (either washed and in their skins or peeled) turns it into an easy ‘all-in-one’ dish. It is simple to make this in advance and heat it through as needed, plus leftover roast vegetables can be reheated the next day or turned into soup. As well as the vegetarian alternative (below), it is also possible to add pieces of chicken or pork to serve this as an all in one meal. Vegetarian or not, I always try to serve a portion of a plain lightly boiled or steamed vegetable (peas/beans/broccoli) on the side to add variety if using as a main meal.  

Rather than spoil a whole meal as I once did, be warned that occasionally courgettes are bitter and it is best to try a small piece of each one before adding to a recipe.  

This recipe is one of my own.

Alternatives: Vegetarian Variation or Main Dish
Although this is intended as a side dish it could become a vegetarian lunch by adding cubes of goat’s cheese at the final stage, allowing them to melt slightly. Unless you have included potato, serve with crusty bread.

100_3490 Roast Mixed Vegetables with Balsamic Vinegar

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Roast Mixed Vegetables with Balsamic Vinegar
(Serves 4-6)

4-6 Red Onions (depending on size) peeled and quartered
2 medium Sweet potatoes
2 large mixed colour sweet peppers (needs 1 each red & yellow at least)
2 Courgettes
125g/4ozs Button Mushrooms, quartered
3-4tbsp Olive oil
3-4tbsp Balsamic vinegar
Salt & Black Pepper
Fresh or dried herbs of your choice (optional)
(This mixture of vegetables is a mixture I regularly use, but can be varied according to taste.  We  like lots of onion! Cooking times are approximate and may have to be adjusted slightly according to the amounts and types of vegetable you are cooking.)

1.  Pre-heat the oven to 200oC/400oF.

2.  Place the prepared onion in a large deep baking tin, drizzle with olive oil and season.  Bake in the oven, covered (with a second tin or a baking sheet) for 1ominutes.  Remove from oven and stir well.

3.  Peel the sweet potato and cut into largish (about 5cm/2inch) cubes.  Add to the tin, stir round, sprinkle with balsamic vinegar.  Cover again and return to the oven for a further 10minutes. Remove from the oven and stir well. (If you are adding par-boiled potatoes or other root vegetables they should be added at this stage.  Keep carrot pieces large as they dry out very quickly – smaller pieces of carrot are better added at Stage 4.)

4.  Quarter the peppers and cut into chunks.  Cut the courgettes into 2½cm/1inch cubes. (If large they can be halved before cutting into semi-circular pieces. Add a little more oil or balsamic vinegar if required. Return to the oven and cook uncovered for 5-10minutes. Stir well.

5.  Finally add the quartered mushrooms. They need a very short cooking time so push them towards the bottom of the vegetable mixture so they do not dry out.  Cook uncovered for about 5 minutes.  (If you are using tomatoes they should be added at this point so they keep their shape and do not disintegrate. You can also add a tin of sweetcorn or pre-cooked red kidney or butter beans at this final stage.  They should be thoroughly drained of their liquid, well stirred in and just need to be heated through.) 

6.  Each item in the final mixture should be cooked through but retain its shape – cook a little longer if required but it is better not to overcook.  There may be a little charring, in particular to the edges of the peppers.  There should be a small amount of liquid in the pan after serving, but the vegetables should not be ‘swimming’ in oil.

7.  I serve this as an accompaniment to a roast dinner, or alternatively with a chop, gammon or steak.  It is a good idea to serve a plain boiled green vegetable (peas or lightly cooked broccoli) as well.

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