- Root of the Matter class ready to start
The menu included root vegetables in a variety of different ways. This post includes recipes for root veggies in a tea, a snack and a soup. Future posts will cover roasting root vegetables, a root vegetable salad, potato and turnip mash, and even a root vegetable dessert — carrot ginger cupcakes with ginger cream cheese frosting.
The audience was actively engaged, contributing tips and recipe ideas of their own. For instance, Violet noted that she shreds ginger to make ginger tea, so it requires less ginger root to get that distinctive gingery flavour. When it comes to making baked root vegetable chips, achieving a crispy texture can be a challenge, as we saw with our carrot chips. A class participant noted there are tools available that make crispy chips in the microwave.
We also talked as a group about many different variations for soups, using the same basic method as described below for the celeriac soup, but with different vegetables, other liquid bases and other spices and herbs. For instance, a sweet potato soup could be made with coconut milk and curry for a South Asian flair, or with chicken broth, cumin, oregano and cilantro for a touch of the South West.
Not only are root vegetables relatively inexpensive, abundant and available throughout the winter months, they are also incredibly versatile. Why not get cooking with some today?
The spicy kick of this tea is welcome when I have a sore throat or cold, but there’s no need to only drink it when you’re feeling under the weather! I like mine with a bit of honey stirred in, but you can use the sweetener of your choice or omit it altogether.
Serves 1 or 2.
Peel a thick knob of ginger about the length of your thumb and cut it into slices about ½ cm thick. Place in a sauce pan along with a couple of cups of water. Bring it to a boil, then keep at a good simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until it’s reached the desired gingery intensity. Strain the tea into your cup and add sugar, honey or other sweetener if desired.
Root Vegetable Chips
These chips are a good snack alternative to commercial potato chips. Experiment with a variety of root vegetables to see which you like. I’ve kept my recipe very simple with only salt for seasoning, but you can use a wide variety of spices. Google ‘root vegetable chips’ for lots more ideas.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Peel, wash and dry a variety of root vegetables. The ones that worked best for us were sweet potatoes, parsnips and turnips. The carrots didn’t get really crisp, but they tasted good.
Using a mandolin or a good knife, slice thinly (about 1/16 to 1/8-inch). Safety tip: use a guard with your mandolin to protect your fingers.
Place the sliced vegetables in a bowl and toss with just enough oil (we used extra virgin olive oil) to lightly coat them. Start with a little; you can always add more.
Spread the slices on the parchment-lined baking sheets and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt.
Bake for 15 minutes, then turn over the chips and bake for another 15 minutes. Cool before serving. As the chips cool, they will continue to get crisper.
Celeriac (Celery Root) Soup
The ghoulish looking celeriac bulb transforms into an elegant, creamy soup with a delicate peppery celery flavour. This simple method of soup preparation can be used for a wide variety of root and other vegetables. If possible, use low sodium stock or bouillon so you can control the sodium. Otherwise, taste the soup before adding any salt.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 large clove garlic, chopped
- 1 baking potato (Idaho), peeled and chopped
- 1 celeriac bulb (quartered, peeled, cubed and well-rinsed)
- ½ tsp freshly ground pepper
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 to 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, lightly chopped
- Optional: ½ to 1 cup milk (fat content you prefer) or additional stock
- Optional: 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
In a large pot such as a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, lower the heat to low and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are translucent. Stir in the potato, celeriac and pepper. Add the stock and thyme. Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn the heat to simmer for about 25 minutes or until the potato and celeriac is soft.
Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. (You could also use a potato masher.) Stir in the milk (or additional stock), starting with ½ cup and adding more if required to achieve the consistency you like.
Once the soup has been puréed, stir in the parsley if using. If you wish to garnish the soup, drizzle on a few drops of olive oil and add a sprig of fresh thyme.
- Elegant, creamy & flavourful celeriac soup