Roasted Fall Veggies & Barley

I had a bit of a shopping spree at the grocery last weekend. My cupboards are bursting with all of the lovely goodness the fall season has to offer: butternut squash, rutabagas, turnips, red skin potatoes, carrots, parsnips, acorn squash and pumpkin. Add to this a pantry full of whole grains – pearled barley, quinoa and brown and wild rice – and you have a veritable cornucopia of delectable goodness.

After a couple nights of leaving dinner duty to my hubby, it was my turn to  create something splendid with the tasty, nutritious resources at my disposal. I voraciously attacked the three-foot-high stack of borrowed cookbooks that have been sitting on my end table for the better part of the last week. The combination of some wonderful whole-grains books loaned to me by my friend Hal, and the whole foods cook books I grabbed at the library left me with too much inspiration. It took me forever to find the right recipe.

Even still, I had to flex the recipe to the things I had in hand. I had no beets or leeks – and shame on me I was even out of chicken or vegetable stock. So I made do with turnips and rutabagas and water. Usually this drives me to insanity, but I was struck with a thought of my grandmother.

Grandma Mid was a young bride in the heart of Great Depression. Often my grandfather went to work with nothing but a fried egg sandwich in his lunch, and they simply made do with what they had. It brought me deep satisfaction “making do” without running to the store for the items mentioned in the recipe. Although I blush to compare my situation with Grandma Mid, I can’t help thinking she would be proud of these new lessons I’m learning (albeit far later in life than they should have been learned).

The results were not at all hindered by the lack of leeks or beets – although the addition of some chicken stock would have been lovely. I served up my lovely concoction with pan-seared orange roughy and it made a beautiful fall dinner.

Without further ado – here is my take on Roasted Fall Vegetables and Barley

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 1 turnip, peeled and diced
  • 1 rutabaga, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium parsnip, peeled and diced
  • Olive oil to coat
  • Dried rosemary
  • Minced fresh garlic
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 4 cups water (or chicken/vegetable stock)
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • sea salt & freshly ground pepper to tasted
  • 6 TBSP grated Parmesan cheese + additional for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all those lovely vegetables, lightly coat with olive oil and season with rosemary and garlic. Lightly grease a baking sheet and place mixed vegetables  in a single layer. I had lots of veggies left over, which make a great sauté the next night.

Roast veggies for 30-45 minutes (mine took 45 minutes although they were small pieces). Stir every 15 minutes.

While the veggies are roasting, heat oil in a large sauce pan. Add barley and toast for one minute. If you have leeks, cook those in the oil for 3-4 minutes first, then toast the barley with the leeks. Once the barley is toasted, add water and bring to a rapid boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 40  minutes, or until the water nearly absorbed. Return to a boil and stir until the last of the water is absorbed.

Remove barley from the heat, and stir in Parmesan cheese. Please use the real stuff, and stay away from the powdered evilness – the taste is far superior, let alone how much better it is for you. Add the barley cheese mixture to the roasted vegetables and mix them all together. Serve and top with a garnish of Parmesan cheese.

The final result was a dinner plate full of oranges and golds, and each bite yielded a new combination of vegetable flavors.

Wishing you tasty reads!

Amanda

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