The final savory chapter in Sarah Copeland's new cookbook, Feast, focuses on a few larger, celebration-sized meals. These recipes take a bit longer to prepare than those in the rest of the book, requiring more attention to detail, but they're worth the time—think paella, vegetable tagine, and silky (bread crumb-free) eggplant Parmesan. Her glazed winter vegetable medley is the centerpiece of the chapter. As Copeland writes in the headnote, this recipe is "a great example of the magical duo of olive oil and butter...resulting in the most luxurious vegetable coating imaginable." Luxurious indeed.
Why I picked this recipe: How could I resist a bowl of buttery veggies studded with chestnuts and olives?
What worked: Here is a prime example of what salt, fat, and a little attention can do to elevate common winter vegetables. Little more is needed to produce a wonderful vegetarian entrée.
What didn't: My cooking times were a little different than written, but it not by enough to make a noticeable difference in the outcome. Be sure all of the vegetables are cut in about the same size so that they'll cook at the same rate, regardless of how long it takes.
Suggested tweaks: It would be easy to swap in different vegetables if you'd like (rutabagas for parsnips, broccoli for cauliflower, etc). If you can't find caper berries, you can use drained and rinsed capers. If using red beets, braise them separately and then toss them in with the finishing oil at the very end of cooking to avoid staining the entire dish red.
Reprinted with permission from Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite by Sarah Copeland. Copyright 2013. Published by Chronicle Books. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
Glazed Winter Vegetable Medley With Chestnuts and Caper Berries From 'Feast'
- 12 fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise
- 4 tablespoons (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into large florets
- 4 large shallots, quartered
- 6 tablespoons (85 g) unsalted butter
- 1 bunch golden beets, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 bunch baby turnips, scrubbed and trimmed
- 1 bunch carrots, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces on the diagonal
- 2 parsnips, peeled, cored, and cut into bite-size pieces on the diagonal
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups (240 to 360 ml) vegetable stock or water
- 1/2 teaspoon unbleached raw sugar
- 5 oz (140 g) roasted peeled chestnuts (see Note)
- Handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
- Finishing oil for drizzling
- Fleur de sel or sel gris
- Handful caper berries
- Oil-cured black olives or kalamata olives for topping
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Toss the potatoes with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper and spread out on a baking sheet. Toss the cauliflower and shallots in the same bowl with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, and spread out on a second baking sheet. Cover both baking sheets loosely with aluminum foil and roast until the vegetables are tender but with just a little browning, about 40 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon as needed.
Meanwhile, in a large, shallow straight-sided skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the beets, turnips, carrots, and parsnips and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper, add the thyme and enough stock to come about halfway up the vegetables (you want them to steam, not completely boil). Cover loosely with foil, bring to a simmer, and cook until the vegetables are tender and the stock reduced to 2 to 3 tablespoons of liquid, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the foil and reduce the stock further, if needed. Set aside until the roasted vegetables are cooked.
When the roasted vegetables are cooked, add 2 tablespoons butter and the sugar to the beets, turnips, carrots, and parsnips. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until heated through and glazed, about 4 minutes. Add the chestnuts and toss to glaze. And the roasted vegetables to the skillet and toss together with 2 tablespoons butter and parsley. Drizzle with finishing oil and season with fleur de sel and pepper.
Divide among bowls, making sure each one has an even mix of vegetables and chestnuts. Top with caper berries and olives. Serve warm.
Note: To roast fresh chestnuts (and you really should, at least once in your life), make a crisscross slit on the domed side of the chestnut with a thin, sharp knife. Roast at 425°F until the shells look as if they are about to peel off at the incision, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly and peel while warm. Eat, or add to a recipe as directed.