I’m a one-trick pony when it comes to root vegetables: I’m a roaster. But a pile of caramelized, albeit kind of dry, roasted root chunks never quite seems like a reasonable main course, no matter how hard I try. That’s why I like this alternative: Braised root vegetables rich with red wine, mushrooms and thyme. It makes a very convincing entree–almost like a stew–especially when served with plenty of whole grain bread to soak up the delicious sauce.
1 1/2 cups red wine
1/4 ounce dried mushrooms, such as porcini
4 pounds assorted root vegetables, peeled (see Tip)
8 ounces white mushrooms, halved if large
2 large onions, sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 cups mushroom broth (see Shopping Tip) or reduced-sodium vegetable broth
4 bay leaves
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Place wine in a small saucepan and heat until steaming. Remove from the heat, add dried mushrooms and let stand while you prepare the vegetables.
2. If using carrots, cut into 3-inch pieces. If using parsnips, quarter lengthwise and remove the woody core, then cut into 3-inch pieces. Cut any round roots (beets, turnips, rutabaga and/or celeriac) into 1-inch-wide wedges. Place the roots, white mushrooms and onions in a large (12-by-15-inch) roasting pan.
3. Line a sieve with cheesecloth or a coffee filter and place over a measuring cup or small bowl. Strain the wine-mushroom mixture through the sieve, reserving the wine. Coarsely chop the mushrooms and whisk them into the wine along with thyme, tomato paste, salt and pepper. Pour over the vegetables; add broth and bay leaves. Cover the roasting pan with foil.
4. Bake, stirring occasionally, for 1 1/2 hours. Uncover and continuing baking, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very tender, about 30 minutes more. Discard bay leaves.
Tip: Beets, carrots and parsnips are easily peeled with a vegetable peeler, but for tougher-skinned roots like celeriac, rutabaga and turnips, removing the peel with a knife can be easier. Cut off one end of the root to create a flat surface to keep it steady on the cutting board. Follow the contour of the vegetable with your knife. If you use a vegetable peeler on the tougher roots, peel around each vegetable at least three times to ensure all the fibrous skin has been removed.
Shopping tip: Mushroom broth can be found in the natural-foods section of large supermarkets and in natural-foods stores.
Recipe Nutrition: 8 servings, about 1 1/3 cups each. Per serving: 151 calories; 1 g fat (0 g saturated fat, 0g mono unsaturated fat); 0 mg cholesterol; 26 g carbohydrates; 4 g protein; 7 g fiber; 694 mg sodium; 870 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (190% daily value), Vitamin C (60% dv), Folate & Potassium (25% dv).
1 Carbohydrate Servings.
Exchanges: 1/2 starch, 2 1/2 vegetable.
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