I’ve given a Middle Eastern twist to this recipe for roasted root vegetables, adapted from my cookbook, co-authored with Anne Applebaum, From a Polish Country Country House Kitchen: 90 Recipes for the Ultimate Comfort Food.
Quantities here depend on how many people you’ve got to feed and how much space you have in your oven. The vegetables do have to be spread out, not overlapping too much, for this to work well. To keep them from sticking too much to the pan, we often put tin foil over the baking trays and bake the vegetables on top of it. For a crowd roast more vegetables in multiple pans.
4-6 large carrots, peeled and chopped into large pieces, maybe thirds or quarters. Baby carrots can be halved, with a small part of the stem left intact. (We tend to cut large carrots diagonally; thin slices are not what you want here.)
4-6 parsnips, also peeled, also chopped into large pieces like the carrots
3-4 small onions, peeled and cut into quarters
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cardamon
½ cup chopped cilantro
½ cup olive oil
½ cup of water
Freshly ground pepper, salt
Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
Spread the cut vegetables out over one or two baking trays covered in tin foil. Dust them with the cumin and cardamon. Pour first the oil, then the water, evenly over them. Toss and shake the vegetables around, so that they are all covered in the oil/water mix. Sprinkle with a heavy dose of salt and pepper.
Put the trays in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Then sprinkle on the cilantro, mix the vegetables again, add a bit more oil and water if any of them seem too dry. Bake again for at least another 15 minutes until all the vegetables are soft but not mushy.
Toss again, add more salt and pepper if you want, and serve. This particularly vegetable dish does not suffer from sitting in an oven on low heat or a warmer if you want to make it in advance and then get on with cooking something else.
Photo by Johnny Cy Lam for Fig Tree & Vine.