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Strike While the Oven Is Hot
By Anna Kovel
Throw in an extra baking sheet of vegetables and aromatics when you're cooking a roast and you'll have building blocks for tomorrow's dinner and beyond.
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Beyond Big-Batch Cooking
Making a big batch of chili and freezing some for another day is all well and good, but it requires a few hours of dedicated time -- and does nothing to use up the odds and ends in the refrigerator. That’s why roasting vegetables while you’re cooking dinner is so brilliant. The oven is already fired up, so you save time and energy, and when it comes to ingredients, you can improvise.
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Roasting vegetables and fruits intensifies their natural sweetness. Toss with just enough extra-virgin olive oil to coat, season as desired, and spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Don't crowd them, or they'll steam rather than brown, and you won't get that concentrated flavor.
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Time and Temp
Roast in a 375 degrees oven; remove each vegetable when it's tender (pierce with a knife to test). Carrots, parsnips, fennel, and winter squash slices take 30 to 35 minutes; halved onions, whole brussels sprouts, and sweet potatoes (pricked several times), 40 to 45 minutes.
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The heat of the oven mellows garlic and tames the bite of olives and ginger. Warm olives are great cocktail nibbles. Roasted ginger (roast thin unpeeled slices about 45 minutes; then finely chop) and chiles (30 minutes) add spark to soups and curries as well as to winter squash, root vegetables, and rice dishes.
Mix and match your roasted vegetables for a versatile, easy dinner. Fennel, chiles, and olives, for instance, are wonderful with pork loin, but carrots, cauliflower, and onions would be delicious, too.
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Later in the week, pull out the leftover roast pork and vegetables for hearty sandwiches. And that’s only the beginning.
Toss crisp bacon with roast brussels sprouts, red onions, and apples for a hearty winter hash...
... and make extra apples for tomorrow night's dessert while you're at it. Add a sprinkle of brown sugar or cinnamon to this batch if you like.