Root Vegetables Roasted With WHAT?

Jalapeno. Yes, I do mean that green chile that you chop up to add to your fresh pico. 
 
When Joel was still in school, I brought a meal to the seminary break room once. The recipe called for chicken and jalapeno. My mistake was to use pickled instead of fresh chiles. To top things off, we were sharing the meal with another student, if I recall correctly.
 
Another memory is that of the time we spent in Limerick. The produce section of grocery stores in Ireland offer a wider variety of potatoes, as well as turnips and parsnips. At least two of the more casual restaurants we tried served parsnip fries. While writing down what groceries to purchase this week, I  decided to add one turnip and one parsnip to the list.
 
There is no Irish cookbook on the shelves in my kitchen, so I went to the internet. The first recipe was for Pureed Roasted Parsnips. It suggested that roasting would bring out a better flavor. Stew was more on my mind than just a side dish, so I kept looking.
The next site had a recipe that called for a lot of things that I had on hand: the parsnip, the turnip, carrots, celery, and strangely enough…a jalapeno.
I didn’t really think of it as strange. I was just glad to use up the left over chile. When I started chopping it and put it through the garlic press, I was beginning to have second thoughts. I pushed them aside as I pushed the jalapeno and garlic into the stew pot. Since I didn’t follow the Chicken Vegetable Stew recipe very closely, perhaps I will give you a rough sketch of what I did.
 
 
3 T unsalted butter, melted
2-3 T olive oil
1 onion, quartered
4 med. boiling potatoes, quartered
1 parsnip, thinly sliced
1  turnip, cut in 1/4 inch cubes
3 carrots, cut in 1/4 inch cubes
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
dash of nutmeg
1/2 t dried parsley
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 c water
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, chopped into bite-sized pieces
salt and pepper to taste
 
I preheated the oven to 400* F.
 
I tossed chopped root vegetables and celery with melted butter, olive oil, and nutmeg. Then I roasted this mixture uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so.
Meanwhile, I placed the chicken in an oven-proof pot and sprinkled it with salt and the parsley. Next, I added the minced jalapeno and garlic. Once the vegetables had roasted, I added them to the pot. I didn’t toss everything together at this point, because I wanted to make sure that I could check to see if the chicken was cooked through. Then I placed the bay leaf on top, and finished it off with one cup of water. I placed the lid on the pot and put it into the 400*F oven for 30 minutes. I then lowered the oven temperature to 350*F and allowed the mix to continue to stew for another 20 minutes. When I checked on it, the chicken was no longer pink and the vegetables were cooked, but not mushy.
We’ll see how it reheats for one of our meals this weekend. I’m also considering adding cream…but maybe there would be a reaction with the jalapeno.
 
 

 

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