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Spiced Sweet Potato & Parsnip Medallions

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Ok, I have to be honest: this isn’t really a recipe. I feel sort of bad even posting it because it’s really simple and normally wouldn’t be worth posting but the pictures are so beautiful I had to share it at least for the sake of sharing presentation inspiration.

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I had been planning on making a sweet potato and parsnip purée to go with a lemon and herb roasted chicken. When it came time to make dinner a purée seemed like infinitely more work than just roasting along with the chicken in the oven. I cut two medium sized sweet potatoes and one parsnip into 1 cm thick medallions as shown above.

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I tossed them in olive oil with a touch of cinnamon and savoury and laid them out in one layer on parchment paper on a half sheet pan. I baked at 230 C / 450 F for 10 minutes then took them out, seasoned again this time with kosher salt, garlic powder, and chili flakes – enough to cover each medallion with a light dusting (about 1 tsp garlic and chill flakes, 1/2 tsp salt). I seasoned the tops first, flipped them and seasoned the bottoms and put them back in the oven like that so they would brown on both sides. Bake for another 10 minutes and they’re done.

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They don’t crips up very much but sweet potato is especially hard to crisp so I wasn’t surprised. They do have a bit of texture to them just nothing outstanding. That’s not what makes them special though. The real winning feature is how they look. Aren’t they a lot more striking than cubed roasted root vegetables?

Also, I don’t know how I have lived this long without ever having tried sweet potato and chili flakes. They belong together.

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Spiced Butternut Squash & Pastured Beef Skillet

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Butternut squash season is here and I couldn’t be happier. This is by far one of my favourite meals. I make different iterations of it quite often, especially for brunch on lazy Sundays (and more than once for dinner on lazy weeknights). I’ve varied my protein selection quite often (corned beef, bacon, ground beef, ground turkey) but I’ve generally stuck to regular white potatoes as my main starch. I didn’t even think about swapping in other starches until we started cleaning up our diet with whole30 that I realized that plain white potatoes are not the most nutritious or exciting option. I think I may have shied away from other options because I wasn’t a big fan of sweet potatoe before. Thankfully those days are gone.

In addition to now loving sweet potato, I’ve also discovered the amazing taste and nutritional benefits of butternut squash.  It has a much milder flavour than sweet potato but still enough sweetness to blend beautifully in heavily spiced preparations. Also, it has half the calories and half the carbs of white potato and sweet potato but about the same amount of fiber, potassium, protein, vitamin A, calcium, and magnesium? As a bonus, it also has almost 10 times the vitamin C. Isn’t that amazing?

You’ll need to cook the squash beforehand but it’s really straightforward. You can peel or dice it either before cooking or after. I prefer after because it’s easier to work with for me, but it depends on your preferences.

If you’re peeling and dicing beforehand: peel the squash with a vegetable peeler, cut lengthwise first and scoop out seeds then dice the squash into 1 cm x 1 cm cubes, toss with olive oil or ghee and bake at 190 C / 375 F for about 30 minutes.

If you’re peeling and dicing afterward: cut the squash lengthwise, scoop out seeds and pulp, brush with ghee or olive oil, and bake at 375 for approximately 45 minutes. You can do this in advance. Cooked dice squash will keep in the fridge for a few days or in the freezer for 6 – 12 months. We used the squash in this skillet for two different meals, sautéed with kale for dinner the night before and in the skillet shown here for brunch the next day.

Like I said above, you can substitute any meat. I think next time I’ll also add more vegetables. One thing I never change is that I always add a pinch of curry powder. It makes all the difference.

Also, this skillet is paleo and whole30 compliant.

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Ingredients

6 oz 80/20 grassfed ground beef
1 cup cooked butternut squash finely cubed
4 large eggs
2 TBSP chives diced
1 tbsp ghee
1/2 yellow onion diced
1 tsp + 1/4 tsp dried parsley flakes
1/4 tsp dried summer savoury
1/2 tsp curry powder
dash of cayenne
S&P to taste

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Method

Preheat oven to 400 F / 200 C
Sautee diced onion in ghee on medium heat until translucent
Add ground beef, increase heat to high and cook until browned but not quite done (approximately 7-8 minutes) while stirring frequently
Add butternut squash and continue stirring frequently. You want to try to get a bit of char on the squash without overcooking it
Add 1 tsp parsley flakes, savoury, curry, cayenne and S&P
Mix well to incorporate spices
Crack the eggs onto the mix, spacing them evenly
Sprinkle tops of eggs with S&P to taste before baking (it might not stick after)
Put skillet into oven and bake for 12-15 minutes or until eggs are no longer runny
Remove from oven and sprinkle liberally with remaining parsley flakes and chives
Serve hot with a side of tomatoes to make a more complete meal

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