Smashed root veggies with caramelized leeks

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While going through the photos on my computer I found pictures of my Thanksgiving feast.  How dare I not post about what is arguably the greatest food holiday!  This year for Thanksgiving I broke away from the Castle/Mackey clan and flew to Burlington, Vermont.  My best friend goes to school at University of Vermont and has the cutest apartment downtown.

While cooking my first turkey without parental supervision probably would have been a right of passage, we chose not to cook a turkey.  I know, I know…Thanksgiving without a turkey?  Whitney and I aren’t huge turkey fans.  I usually eat a small piece and smother it in mashed potatoes and gravy until it isn’t recognizable.  Whit agreed and we chose to spend the twenty bucks we would have spent on a turkey, on cheese.

The best part about cooking Thanksgiving dinner with only your best friend and minus a turkey is that it was effortless and inexpensive.  The two of us picked out extra side dishes to make up for the loss of meat.  We woke up in the morning and broke into our various cheeses we purchased and watched “Castle” until it was a reasonable time to start cooking–we lasted until about 10:30 and then got antsy and started cooking.

 

Watching Castle and eating cheese
Watching Castle and eating cheese

This post is about the smashed root vetetables with caramalized leeks that we made from a recipe in Martha Stewart’s “Living” magazine.  The root vegetables were earthy and hearty.  They were similar to mashed potatoes, but had more texture and flavor.  I would never replace mashed potatoes with these root veggies, but it was an excellent addition to round out our veggie meal.

Serves 8:

  • 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (about 4), peeled and cut into chunks
  • 3/4 pound turnips (2 small), peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1/2 pound parsnips (about 4), peeled and cut into chunks
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 pound leeks, trimmed, sliced 1/4 inch thick, and rinsed well (2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Place the potatoes, turnips, and parsnips in a large pot; cover with 2 inches cold water.  Season water with salt.  Bring it to a boil, then reduce heat, and simmer the root vegetables until they are tender and breaking apart, about 30 minutes.  Drain.

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Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium Dutch oven (this is what Martha recommends, but I just used a normal skillet) over medium high heat.  Add leeks, and cook until golden, about 15 minutes.  Add root vegetables, and stir to dry out, about two minutes.  Add milk and cream, and stir to break up vegetables.  Heat until hot; season with salt and pepper.

Leeks
Leeks before caramelization

The vegetables can be refrigerated 1 day in advance and reheated.  When reheating, add more milk to reach the creamy consistency.

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