Actually, I believe that everyone needs some roast veggies in their cooking repertoire. They are just too versatile: eat them hot, room temperature, or cold; they're a complete dish on their own and make a great supporting player in soups, salads, omelettes, pasta, rice, polenta, hash... and whole lot of other dishes.
This is how I make Roasted Vegetables.
First, gather some supplies. I use
- a cutting board & knife
- a big baking sheeting & stirring implement
- three or more types of veggies
- salt, pepper, oil and something sour.
Cut everything up. I like relatively firm potatoes so I cut them larger than everything else. I only used one onion (they were huge) and I stole half of one red pepper to use in chili.
This step is optional, but I like to see how pretty the veggies look together, so I mixed them up.
Pour on the oil/sour mix. I usually use equal parts of oil and a vinegar (or lemon juice), but salad dressing works just fine, too.
Mix well. The veggies need to be thoroughly coated*. The oil coating helps conduct the heat; in effect frying the food in the pan. A few puddles on the bottom of the pan is okay, but the vegetables should not be taking a bath in salad dressing.
Salt & pepper the bejeezus out of the veggies, shake the pan to get a more-or-less single layer, and the veggies are all set for the oven!
Turn the oven to whatever setting gives a temperature of about 450 degrees Fahrenheit. No need to be terribly precise here. Less heat + More time = More heat + Less time (more or less; although the latter will char the edges of the vegetables more.)
This is what the vegetables looked like after 20 minutes. The temperature in my oven is 425 degrees.
This is what the vegetables looked like after another 20 minutes (40 minutes total), and a quick stir to expose a different side of the vegetables to the dry oven air. The temperature in my oven is 475 degrees.
This is what the vegetables looked like after a final 20 minutes (60 minutes total). The temperature in my oven is 450 degrees. I test a potato and declare the dish done.
Sometimes I cook my veggies until the onions are all but black--yummy--but this isn't one of those days. The vegetables are still good: moist and withered, with some tasty crusty** bits along the edges.
* Vegetables will roast just fine with lot less oil. Just make sure that they are well-coated. I've had a lot of success with a 3/4-full gallon-sized zip top bag with a tablespoon of olive oil and two tablespoons of vinegar or lemon juice. When doing this, it's usually a good idea to grease the bottom of the pan with to help with cleanup.
**Yes, the pan is crusty, too. It seems like cleanup should be intimidating, but it really isn't. Just put water in the warm pan and soak it overnight. A quick pass with the scrubber sponge and the pan'll be ready for the dishwasher.
YUM. I've made roasted veggies for years, but somehow the "sour" never crossed my mind. I'll have to give that a try next time!
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