Stovetop Braised Root Vegetables

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

Ingredients

  • 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)

Directions

  1. Melt the butter in a skillet with a cover over med-high heat.
  2. Add garlic, onion, carrots, parsnips, and rutabaga. Season with salt & pepper and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add stock, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cover.
  4. Cook vegetables until fork tender, about 15 minutes. Season with salt & pepper, to taste.
  5. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

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Notes

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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64 thoughts on “Stovetop Braised Root Vegetables

  1. I’ve never had rutabaga or parsnips before. I like how easy this dish is and love that it can be done stove top! The oven just gets so over crowded on Thanksgiving. Another great addition to the Thanksgiving table John. Have a great weekend!

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    • I love roasted sweet potatoes, Greg, it’s just too problematic trying to roast them and the turkey at the same time. If anyone would understand the significance of Mom dropping a pasta, I knew you would. I hope you don’t suffer any long-lasting ill-effects, as a result my mentioning that possibility.

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  2. John, you are so entertaining in your writing!! I felt like it was talking to me….prepping ahead, losing my drink, color coordinating my table….has someone told you about my little quirks??? I have to make this first because it is clearly a dish I will love and second just to tell the whole story to my guests on the reasons of adding it on my menu!!

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    • Thanks, Linda. Judging by your pre-Thanksgiving posts, I’d be willing to bet my last dollar that you set a table lovely enough to grace the covers of a Martha Stewart or Bon Appetit magazine — only better. People will actually be seated at your table and the food will not just look good but will be every bit as delicious. And, by the way, when you’re looking for that cocktail, look for one of mine. I never did find a couple of ’em. 🙂

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  3. Beautiful! I wasn’t sure how to add in a root vegetable melange! My typical roasting methods are cumbersome on turkey day– limited oven space, so this is my answer. The family “pot luck” is at my house, but I supply the turkey. Since I’m the only vegetarian in the group, sometimes my enjoyment of the meal takes a back seat to enjoying the company. This beautiful dish excites me, and might even appeal to someone else in our gathering…if I can pull them away from all the candied this’s and that’s. Hmmm. Debra

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    • I was just talking with a vegetarian friend just this morning. Thanksgiving isn’t very kind to y’all, is it? If you host the dinner, you’re almost forced to cook a bird. If you’re a guest, it can be slim pickin’s at the table. I hope this dish helps you out. 🙂

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  4. Easy, delicous AND colour co-ordinated! You´re a marvel…love veggies done like this but I´ve never had rutabaga (at least, I don´t think I have or is it what we´d call turnip or swede?). And in my kitchen it´s the law to have a glass of something gorgeous in your hand while cooking, so that 2nd cocktail would be perfect 🙂

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    • Thanks, Tanya. I think that rutabaga is also called swede but our turnips are a different root vegetable entirely. Thank you again because I now have a vision of you stirring something wonderful (maybe a jam or your cauliflower soup) with one hand while holding a smart little cocktail in the other. 🙂

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  5. What a lovely idea! Even though I love meat, I could be a vegetarian at least for a few weeks at a time. The taste of the individual vegetables is why love them so – and to mix such a great combination just quadruples the goodness! I’m trying to make our Thanksgiving dinner ‘lighter’ this year – but I am serving your brie beforehand – definitely! I have my brie, just trying to decide between sweet or savory!

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    • Thanks, Phyllis. I, too, love vegetables and these go well together. I’ve steered clear of adding herbs or spices to the dish for fear of overpowering the more subtle taste of the rutabaga or parsnips. This dish is probably the “lightest” dish that I prepare on T-Day, with no cream, no sugar, and very little butter. It’s almost out of place!

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  6. I love food like that – I’m cooking a dish at the moment with cauliflower, chickpeas, tomatoes, fresh ginger, cumin,mustard seeds and curry paste which is topped with fresh breadcrumbs whizzed with olive oil, fresh coriander, garlic, sea salt and pepper. Long live veg – and a good glass of red.

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  7. That’s a great way to get the root veggies out of the oven – love it! I’m all for sides that don’t require babysitting during a hectic meal prep>>>
    As for you missing cocktails, I certainly hope Max hasn’t developed a taste for them… 😀

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    • We are of the same mind. I put “stovetop” in the recipe title so that people would see that there’s no need to disturb the bird. As for Max, he’s never really gone after a cocktail. There was a time, however, when he was about 3 months old, when he managed to drink my coffee just about every morning. It got to the point where I never put my cup down. The pup was already manic, the last thing he needed was a shot of caffeine!

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  8. A vegetable dish after my own heart, one that lets the individual tastes shine through. Simple and delicious. I love swede, my mum used to chop it up roughly with carrots, and lots of butter and black pepper – pure comfort food 🙂

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  9. I’ve never seen this done stove-top, finally I will have more room in my oven for the other stuff. The colors are so lovely and seasonal, very impressive! I often forget a dish and find it the next day:) Lol I think it’s the wine that numbs the memory:)

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    • You’re not the only one to forget things. I famously once forgot the mashed potatoes. In my defense, they were hiding underneath the baking sheet on which the rolls were warmed. It wasn’t until someone said, “I don’t even miss the mashed potatoes …” that I realized that I missed the mashed potatoes!

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  10. Beautiful photographs and recipe which I will forward to my veg friends for sure. I am not cooking this year but will make this for winter guests another day. When I was growing up and I was at my friend Anne Marie’s, the blue platter of pasta came out and I thought that was the meal! THEN the giant turkey after that! Her father was a butcher at the Grand Union. My family table growing up seemed so bereft of pasta.

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    • Thanks, Ruth. I know that look of surprise you probably wore when you dined at your friend’s home. I saw it whenever we had non-Italian guests for a holiday dinner or, for that matter, any celebratory dinner. You knew it was a party when the ravioli was served as a first course.

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  11. Fantastic starting point, much to the chagrin of my personal tester. In an effort to cross every root T I added beets, a touch of fennel (sorry Theresa) and splashed with Balsamic to make the flavors bright. Colored sublimely and flavored brilliantly I ate this perfect side by myself. Hmmph.

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    • And to think I had a fennel bulb all along. (Used it on last week’s porchetta.) Never would have thought to use it in this dish. I thought about adding a couple beets (the fruit market had gold, purple, and black) but was afraid they would bleed and ruin the colors of the rest.

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  12. Wow, in addition to a great sounding preparation of root veggies you’ve gone to the trouble to insure color coordination as well? Applause to you, John! Like many, I’ve always roasted my root veggies but this really sounds delish, especially with the butter and the chicken stock. I plan to try this stovetop method and recipe next time, maybe with potato instead of or in addition to the rutabaga.

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    • I really prefer to oven roast my veggies, too. There just isn’t room for them in my oven on Thanksgiving. So, it’s either stove-top or do without. I refuse to use the micro-wave for them. I’m really not that much of a color person with my Thanksgiving dinner. So long as it isn’t burnt black or on fire as it gets to the table, I’m happy. 🙂

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  13. This is a wonderful side dish because as you say the cook has so many things to handle all at once and especially at the last minute. I had never had rutabagas until I moved to New England where I have since found that they call turnips. I was asked to bring turnips to a Thanksgiving dinner. I brought turnips (purple top) and you should have seen everyones faces…they were expecting rutabagas. Live and learn.

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    • You’re singing my song, Eva. I also love roasted vegetables. If I had a bigger oven, these would be roasted instead of braised on the stovetop but you have to work with what you have. It’s still a good dish, though, and perfect for this dinner and season.

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  14. A beautiful dish (yes, I’m sure you’re called that all the time, my dear), and so perfect in that set-it-and-forget-it style that’s especially helpful when one has all of those other parts of the meal to attend. Count me in when it comes to liking recipes that take relatively little prep, look after themselves well, and come out like stars. MMM!

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    • Dish? Moi? You must be talking about the satellite cable system — I am a tad spacey — because my china days are behind me. But, again, you give me cause to smile! And you’re right about this recipe. It is perfect for one of those big, holiday meal settings.

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  15. Especially if using farm-fresh/high-quality veggies, simple preparations like this are the best for highlighting their flavors. (You have such a wealth of archives, decided I needed to occasionally hit the “random post” button!)

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  16. Pingback: Mom’s Osso Buco | from the Bartolini kitchens

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