Friday, February 3, 2012

Winter Vegetables Roasted in Bacon Grease


Yesterday was Groundhog Day and the reports are that Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow and we're in for 6 more weeks of winter, although our local groundhog in Stone Mountain Georgia did not see his shadow so here in the Southeast we might be heading for an early Spring.  Whatever the weather, the markets and CSA boxes right now are boasting a bounty of earthy, bulbous roots:  humble, starchy, a bit odd in name and appearance (rutabagas and parsnips), but worth exploring in satisfying hearty main dishes and savory sides, such as this dish, Winter Vegetables Roasted in Bacon Grease.

Bacon has an important role in my kitchen.  Although I rarely eat a whole piece of bacon on its own, I use bacon for accents in many dishes, such as my favorite salad, and my favorite sauteed greens, and my favorite chicken curry.  When I cook bacon, in full slices or cut into lardons, I save the grease in a container in the fridge or freezer.  This comes in handy when it's time for greasing the pan for cooking eggs, or greens, and, as it turns out, roasting vegetables in the oven.

n.o.e.'s notes:

-  The recipe for these roast vegetables came from the kitchn, and you can find it here.

-  For the roots, I used red and golden beets and turnip, and instead of cauliflower, I used broccoli.  I've made this other times and varied the roots, but I always keep the broccoli.

-  [edited to add: These vegetables would also be delicious roasted with olive oil, salt and pepper]

the verdict:

As they roasted, the root vegetables got good and caramelized, and tender and a bit smoky in flavor from the bacon.  The broccoli got a bit crispy, which was a fantastic contribution to taste of the root veggies.  This dish is simple to put together and delivers a big flavor dividend; it's become a standby of my cool-weather cooking.


Kayte said...

You are my mother...she always saves bacon grease and it used to turn my stomach to even think or look at it for some reason so I never have saved bacon grease. Don't tell my mother...she thinks it is a sin to waste useful things (and it probably is). These vegetables look really yummy. That Phil...he is so unpredictable!

Audrey said...

Hmmm. This might need a more reomantic (or PC?) name, but other than that, I would like it exactly as is!

Anonymous said...

A good way to eat vegetables