The Frugal Café | Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup"</a> | Creative Commons License, Flickr.com
Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup" | Creative Commons License, Flickr.com

Frugal Café Philosophy
Save more.
Spend wisely.
Use resources responsibly.
Laugh often.
Kindle passion in life.
Give back.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frugal Café Site Search:

 

 

Peasant Fare at Its Best: Irish Roasted Root Vegetables Recipe

By Vicki McClure Davidson

 

There are so many recipes for roasted root vegetables - these two photos show the diversity of the dish. | Photo credits: wittlz and onenjen, Flickr, Creative Commons

There are so many recipes for roasted root vegetables - these two photos show the diversity of the dish. | Photo credits: wittlz and onenjen, Flickr, Creative Commons

 

The Irish have always been a frugal people — they've had to be. Economic crises, potato blights... Ireland has suffered and survived for centuries. Creative Irish homemakers learned how to stretch and use every speck and morsel of food to feed their families, and in so doing, have created many easy, cheap-to-make and nutritious family recipes. Nothing was wasted in an Irish kitchen... nothing.

Some while back, I came across an old Irish recipe for roasted root vegetables. This is peasant fare at its very best. My daughter (now a vegetarian) and I now make it often because we love it so much. We sometimes modify the ingredients and herbs based on what is on hand in the pantry and our mood. The low-cost recipe provided below, however, is how we make it the most often.

Sometimes we'll add whole garlic cloves towards the end of the baking session. Sometimes chunks of bell pepper, shredded radicchio, cauliflower, tomatoes, celery, or mushrooms (also toward the end of the baking session) are added to the root vegetable batch. If you're adding more fragile ingredients that don't have the density of the root vegetables, add them to the root vegetable batch as they roast during the last 10 to 15 minutes of baking. Other vegetables, such as beets, yams, Brussels sprouts, squash, celery root, broccoli, or jicama, can also be added, if you want. You can choose to cut the vegetables, or if they are fairly similar in size, not cut them.

The flavors of roasted root vegetables, commingling together, are amazing. High temperatures cause the natural sugars in the veggies to caramelize, intensifying and sweetening the flavors. Fabulous flavor that costs so little.

The vegetables we've listed here are all root vegetables, but you can be creative. This is a thrift-minded way to use up vegetables in the fridge that are past their prime.

Two things we've learned must always be constant with this dish, however: high heat and lots of onions. The high temperature is an imperative for the vegetables to roast and caramelize properly. Lower temperatures will indeed cook the vegetables, but not roast them quite as well.

The other constant is the addition of lots of onions... without the onions, this simple peasant dish just isn't the same. I've added diced scallions at the beginning of the baking, and they burned into tiny, hideous cinders. Scallions can be added, but at the END of baking.

Lots of big, hearty chunks of make-you-weep onions are the key to elevating the best flavors in this dish. As the vegetables roast, the aroma of roasted onions filling the kitchen and other parts of the house is mouth-watering.

The only vegetable I peel in this recipe is the rutabaga. The outer skin is particularly tough and woody, and I personally don't like the texture in my mouth. But with the potatoes, onions, turnips, carrots, and parsnips, I leave the skin on for additional vitamins. Your call whether to peel or not. Leaving the potato peels on adds to fiber and earthy flavor.

I believe in the original old Irish recipe, animal lard was used. Some type of fat is necessary to prevent the vegetables from drying out and becoming rock hard. I've changed the original recipe to use olive oil per the request of my vegetarian daughter, but have made it with other oils with equal success. I've also made it with just potatoes and onions. Fingerling potatoes (I've not found these delicious little oddities at the supermarket, just at the farmers market) are excellent for this dish. If you use fingerling potatoes, no cutting or cubing is necessary — they are the perfect size to use as is. Be sure to pierce them one or two times to prevent a messy explosion. They roast up beautifully. This is one of my husband and son's favorite ways to have potatoes.

If you use baby turnips instead of full-size turnips, no cutting is necessary. If you want to add Brussels sprouts, cut them in half lengthwise.

Be aware that the vegetables (especially the onions) will start to blacken and singe in areas. This is what you want, so don't panic if the dish looks burned to you. A bit of burn here and there is good, as this is where the roasted flavor is intensified.

This recipe makes a big batch. You can cut it in half, if desired.

 

Old Irish Recipe - Roasted Root Vegetables

 

Wash and prep all the vegetables in advance. Preheat oven to 450 deg. F.

Use a large metal baking pan with raised 1-in. side. Line pan with aluminum foil to keep vegetables from sticking to pan (makes cleanup much easier).

Drizzle 1/4 cup of the olive oil onto the foil in pan. Add the cut vegetables to the pan.

Pour remaining 1/2 cup of the olive oil directly over vegetables.

Mix dry ingredients together in separate bowl, then sprinkle dry ingredients over vegetables. Use your hands to mix them up, making sure that all vegetables are covered evenly with olive oil and herbs/spices.

Put in oven, uncovered, at 450 degrees for 45 minutes.

Check veggies every 10 to 15 minutes, stirring them with a wooden spoon to mix those in the center to outer edges. This helps with uniform roasting while keeping the vegetables on the outer edges from burning badly.

After 45 minutes, take out of oven and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 6 to 12 (depending on if roasted vegetables are served as main dish or a side dish)

 

 

 

Related Reading and Recipes:
Frugal Café Blog Zone: Farmers' Markets & Local Veggies: Buying, Selling, & Adding Personal Touches Could Help Farmers' Sales
Frugal Café Blog Zone: Fab Food Friday Fotos — The Frugal Irish Food & St. Patrick's Day Recipes Edition… Éirinn Go Brách!
Frugal Café Blog Zone: Fab Food Friday Fotos & Recipes: Chili Chicken, Eggplant Hiziki Caviar, Leek & Potato Soup, Coconut Ganache Tartlettes, Brunswick Stew, Indian Spiced Beef Brisket, Chile Ancho Rellenos with Plantains, Halibut & Mango Salsa, Chicken Nuggets, Garlic Cauliflower, & Thrifty Recipes
Frugal Café Blog Zone: Fab Food Friday Fotos: Prime Rib Roast, Sugar Cookies, Tomyum Chicken Soup, Casseroles, Thai Sweet Corn Cakes, Tofu Cashew Chow Mein, Hominy Tamales, Rosemary Kalamata Olive Bread, & Frugal Recipes
Frugal Café Blog Zone: Fab Food Friday Fotos & Recipes: Taco Salad, Chinese Cabbage Rolls, Beet-Lemon Cupcakes, Amish Chicken Pot Pie, Peach & Blueberry Rustic Tart, Squash & Turkey Casserole, Buttermilk Bacon Ranch Mac & Cheese, Tres Leche, Vietnamese Beef Jerky, More Cheap Recipes
Frugal Café Blog Zone: Fab Food Friday Fotos and Recipes: Dumplings & Salads & Soups, Oh My!… Encore Edition of Beautiful Food Photos & Easy, Thrifty Recipes
Celebrity Recipes: Loretta Lynn's Tater Cakes
Chefs' Cooking Secrets | Creamy Potato Soup, with Chef Jason Hill
Chefs' Cooking Secrets | Pepín-Style Potatoes, with Rachael Ray
Vegetable Stock Recipes: Rosemary Potatoes
Cauliflower, The Underrated Vegetable — Thrifty, Delicious Cauliflower Recipes
Ordinary Kitchens Have Magic... Cool Vintage and Retro Kitchens of Yesteryear
Frugal Versions of Famous Soups: Ronald Reagan's Hamburger Soup, Soup Nazi's Cream of Sweet Potato Soup, and More
Traditional and Unique: Six Different Holiday Green Bean Casserole Recipes
Frugal Café Blog Zone: Fab Food Friday Fotos: Special Christmas Eve Super Soups & Recipes Edition… Because Baby, It’s COLD Outside
Frugal Café Blog Zone: Fab Food Friday Fotos and RecipesSweet & Sour Chicken, Chickpeas & Baby Spinach, Frosted Donuts, Orzo Salad, Fishball Soup, A Perfect Red Apple, Sausage Skillet, Frugal Recipes, & More
Chefs' Culinary Secrets & Cooking Philosophies | Wolfgang Puck & Dave Lieberman
Celebrity Recipes: Casey Kasem's Vegetarian Soup
Celebrity Recipes: Ann B. Davis's Yankee Doodle Macaroni and Cheese
Celebrity Recipes: Alfred Hitchcock's Quiche Lorraine
Success with Fish: Frugal Tips and Advice on Prepping and Cooking Fish and Shellfish, from the Experts (with Video Demos)
Skillet Hamburger Pie
Frugal Café Blog Zone: Common Sense & Frugality: Let's Bring Back Home Economic Classes
Frugal Café Blog Zone Cooking: Glenn Smith's Recession Curry & Tasty Flatiron Steak
Walk on the Wild Side: Frugal Dandelion Greens Recipes
DIY: Salt-Free Herb/Spice Blends for Salt Substitutes
The Truth about Tomatoes
Chefs' Culinary Secrets & Cooking Philosophies | Rachael Ray, Leo Chun, Jeff Smith
Frugal Café Blog Zone: Thanksgiving Google Logo Tribute Today... Artwork by Popular TV Chef Ina Garten, "The Barefoot Contessa," Plus Her Thanksgiving Recipes & Video Cooking Demos
Frugal Café Blog Zone: Food Jungle Conquest: Diced Chile Peppers, Bargain Bin
Free Daily Nutrition Requirements Calculator

 

Sources:
About: Potatoes website, (http://nutrition.about.com/od/askyournutritionist/f/potato.htm).
Colorado Potato website, (www.coloradopotato.org/colorado_potato_facts_nutrition.php).
eHow website, "How to Store Potatoes,"(www.ehow.com/how_3480_store-potatoes.html).
Food Nutrition Facts website, "Potatoes,", (www.food-nutrition-facts.net/potato_nutrition/potato_nutrition.html).
Hot Potato website, (www.thehotpotato.com/english/potato_facts.htm).
How to Break an Egg, (by the editors, contributors, and readers of Fine Cooking Magazine), The Taunton Press, Newtown, CT, 2005.