Continuing my quest to bring a little variety to my Thanksgiving dinner, the year following the introduction of creamed corn, I served a medley of root vegetables. This dish was selected because it met 2 important criteria required of any dish to be deemed worthy of a spot on my roster of Thanksgiving side dishes.
First, and most importantly, any new addition must be tasty — and this one was surprisingly delicious. I say surprisingly because I’d never sampled rutabaga prior to my finding this recipe on the web during yet another sleepless night. I added parsnips to the dish after enjoying them for the first time at a dinner prepared by the Neighbor Lady of my Trusty Traveling Companion. While some might find that surprising, in retrospect, it’s totally understandable why rutabaga and parsnip never made an appearance upon our dining table when I was growing up. Considering the cornucopia of vegetables that graced our table, there just wasn’t any room for these 2 on the menu. Add one more vegetable and Mom may have had to cut a pasta dish out of her repertoire. Cut a pasta? I can feel my heart racing!
The second requirement is that the potential dish be easy to prepare — and special consideration is given if the dish can be cooked on the stove top. When I’m in the final stages of getting the dinner to the table, the last thing I need is to be babysitting a couple of side dishes. I’ve got potatoes to rice/smash, gravy to make, a pasta course to serve, salads to prepare, and rolls to forget and burn in the oven. And we mustn’t forget a bird to carve and dishes to clear. Tending to some needy side dish(es) just won’t do and the time I spend trying to find room in the oven for it could be better spent trying to find the cocktail I left somewhere out among my guests. This dish is perfect in this regard. First off, you can peel and chop the vegetables well before your guests arrive. In fact, I’ll often do the prep work the night before and seal the chopped veggies in a plastic bag to be stored in the fridge. Taking but 20 minutes to cook, if that, once you get everything into the pan, you can pretty much leave it until it’s ready to be served. It doesn’t get much easier than that and you may find that you even have time to lose a 2nd cocktail.
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Stovetop Braised Root Vegetables Recipe
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 4 parsnips, peeled and chopped
- 1 rutabaga, peeled and chopped
- salt & pepper, to taste
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock (vegetable stock may be substituted)
- Melt the butter in a skillet with a cover over med-high heat.
- Add garlic, onion, carrots, parsnips, and rutabaga. Season with salt & pepper and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add stock, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cover.
- Cook vegetables until fork tender, about 15 minutes. Season with salt & pepper, to taste.
- Remove from heat and serve immediately.
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Besides being tasty and easy to prepare, this dish is perfect for those who color coördinate their Thanksgiving dinner. By offering 4 distinct colors in one recipe (pale yellow, orange, and white, not to mention the red onion), this dish single-handedly provides you with many of the colors of the Thanksgiving palette. And if you’re worried that the parsnips will bring too much white to your table, just replace your mashed russets with a batch of Jed’s purple potatoes and you’ll be fine.
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