This weekend we celebrated Burns Night at Charlie and Colleen's house. This Scottish holiday traditionally features a haggis, in order to commemorate the stirring Robert Burns poem "Address to a Haggis" (if you want to read it, you can find it here). It's sort of ridiculous good fun and we tried to keep things as Scottish as possible. Charlie made meatloaf instead (a particularly fantastic one) but Katie made a vegetarian haggis so that we could sort of get it right, but without all the intestines and sheep stomachs that go into real haggis. I brought some things for a charcuterie plate--pâté, salami and a delicious goat cheese called Purple Haze that has lavender and wild fennel pollen in it. I also made a batch of particularly well thought out roasted root vegetables. Usually I just chuck whatever I feel like cutting up into the oven without too much thought, but this time I actually spent a lot of time picking out veggies and considering their needs, so it really turned out pretty well. As things are wont to do, if you just take a little patience and time with them. The More You Know!
I selected 1 large rutabaga, 1 large turnip, 3 parsnips, 1 garnet sweet potato, a bag of tiny literally pebble-sized Yukon Gold potatoes and a bag of miniature carrots that still had a bit of green on top so they looked whole but were only maybe 2 ½" long. The tiny potatoes and carrots were really cute and I think they elevated this basic dish into something a little more festive for a special occasion. Oddly, this time I ended up going to Whole Foods for my vegetable shopping rather than my beloved DeKalb Market and they seem to cultivate their own adorable tiny carrots, so if you want to find them yourself, try looking there. I sliced up a bit more than half each of my enormous turnip, rutabaga and sweet potato saving the rest for something else. I ended up using half each of the bag of tiny Yukon Golds (picking out the ones that were tiniest of all) and adorable tiny carrots. You want to keep a balance between the vegetables and also I think it would have made way too much. I left the carrots and Yukon Golds whole, sliced the parsnips and sweet potatoes into matchsticks and cut the rutabaga and turnip into half-moon slices about ½" thick. The goal is to make sure everything is more or less the same width so it will cook at an even rate but also to keep some visual interest with different cuts between the veggies. Tossed all the vegetables together with about 10 whole cloves peeled garlic (it will become soft and mellow as it roasts), 5 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 teaspoon each red pepper flakes and cumin, 2 teaspoons salt and a healthy grinding of fresh black pepper over all. I took them over to Charlie & Colleen's, divided them into 2 pans, and roasted for a little while along with the meatloaf and vegetarian haggis at about 350 (I think?). Then after the other things were removed from the oven we cranked it up to 425 and continued to roast. They probably went for about 20 minutes at the lower temperature and then about another 25 at the high one. Shake the pans or stir them often to redistribute the vegetables to ensure even cooking.