Thursday, December 19, 2013

Right Down to the Bottom of the Pan

I should have taken a picture of the kids and me eating leftovers last night.  Geoff had a dentist appointment and so wasn't home for dinner, and it was such a delicious meal that I'm still tasting the taste this morning and wishing we had more.

A few nights ago, I served up roasted chicken along with two mounded sheet pans of coarsely chopped, roasted veggies:  A bag of extra-tiny new potatoes; a bag of multi-coloured carrots; a bunch of parsnips; a few sweet potatoes; two heads of garlic; two kinds of onions; a whole head of cauliflower.  It was a serious amount of veggies!

I tossed them all with a bit of grape seed oil (which has a higher smoke point than olive oil so I always use grape seed oil for roasting), S&P and a liberal sprinkling of herb de provence (which I think is the perfect seasoning for roasted veggies).  I usually add the cauliflower halfway through the roasting time because it takes less time to cook through.

To quote Maria from The Sound of Music, this kind of roasted veggie dish is "one of our favourite things."  There's something about roasting veggies that brings out their natural sweetness, and the crunch that comes from dumping the raw veggies onto piping hot sheet pans is so delish!

Usually when I roast a large quantity of veggies like this, I also make a cheese sauce from scratch, mixing a good quality cheddar cheese into a roux and whisking in some hot milk.  If the kids see me roasting veggies and stirring up a scratch cheese sauce, they groan in anticipation and usually roll around the kitchen floor begging to eat.  Seriously, roasted veggies with a cheese sauce are that addictive!

Roasted veggies appear often on our dinner table, and we make such a large quantity because we love the leftovers, too - either partially pureed into soup stock, or simply as leftovers.

Last night, I chopped up some of the leftover chicken and dumped it unceremoniously, along with the pile of leftover veggies and the leftover cheese sauce into a huge frying pan and added a wee bit of chicken broth.  The result was a dish that was perfectly (but not overly) cheesy in taste, and just slightly creamy in texture.

Once everything was spitting hot, I plunked the frying pan onto the middle of the dinner table and handed everyone a fork.  The four of us ate right out of the steaming frying pan until every single veggie was gone.  We devoured it.  Inhaled it.  Argued about who had the best mouthful.  Right down to the last scraping of onion and cheese sauce from the bottom of the pan.  There were no leftovers for poor Geoff, who was forced to scrape together his own (far less satisfying) dinner when he came home!


  1. That was simplty excellent advertising for roasted veggies. I'm going right out to get some groceries! Seriously, if I could get my boys to moan and groan over any food, other than dessert, of course, I would be ecstatic! Nice work. I'm gonna try it.

  2. Well, don't kid yourself, Tammy - my kids might moan and groan about desserts, too, 'cause they love their sweets! But it is awesome that they will devour, just because of a little cheese sauce, an almost infinite amount of roasted veggies. I think roasting brings out the best in veggies - so sweet and a bit smoky. Mmmm...I'm starting to feel a carving coming on again!


  3. Thanks Ruth. We do lots of roasted veggies but never with cheese sauce or grape seed oil and not mostly with cauliflower but I'll have to experiment.

    1. It's worth the experiment Eileen!

      Oh, and one other thing I do (maybe you do, too!): I always put my sheet pans into the oven while the oven is heating up so that the pans are super hot when I dump the veggies on...that makes them just a bit more crispy in the end.



    2. The cauliflower takes about 20-25 minutes, depending on how big you cut the chunks. The whole thing takes about 45 minutes at 375-400 degrees, so that's why I put the cauliflower in about halfway through baking time.

      Have fun!


  4. No I have never heated my pans first. I will try that.