Wheatless Wednesday – Root Vegetable Tian with Goat Cheese and Crispy Shallots

Root Vegetable Tian3

Root vegetables are like your underappreciated friend  who is super smart and really fun but maybe a bit socially awkward and not classically attractive. Root vegetables grow in the ground, have tough skins, which are sometimes ‘hairy’ (egad!) and are often a bit misshapen.  They have none of the allure of ‘popular’ vegetables like tomatoes, eggplant or the reigning queen of greens, kale.   Yes, root vegetables are not very pretty on the outside with their dusky, tough skins, but cut them open to find a treasure trove of jewel tones and lovely, often intense flavors. Since they are grown underground, they absorb a great amount of nutrients from the soil. They are packed with a high concentration of antioxidants, Vitamins C, B, A, and iron.. They are also filled with slow-burning carbohydrates and fiber, which make you feel full, and help regulate your blood sugar and digestive system. This factor, plus the high-octane nutrients and low calories, make roots excellent for people who are trying to lose weight, or simply stay healthy. Read more at Oh My Veggies.

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This summer I made a beautiful Summer Vegetable Tart featuring summer produce like zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant and fresh tomatoes with rounds of fresh mozzarella arranged into a gorgeous flower pattern.  It was definitely a family and a fan favorite so check it out if you still have tomatoes and zucchini left in your garden!  With fall vegetables crowding the bins in markets right now, I wanted to rework the tart into one featuring fall veggies, root vegetables in particular.  Whereas summer veggies have a lot of water in them, root vegetables are more dense, so I opted to make a tian which is a mixture of roasted vegetables cooked in a shallow dish, usually layered or arranged with cheese or au gratin but without a crust which seems unnecessary for these already hearty vegetables. A tian is actually the earthenware cooking pot used in Provence, France, although the name Tian now serves to include the food cooked inside.  Most people, like me, don’t have a special tian dish but use any low glass, ceramic or earthenware dish available. I topped the vegetables with thinly sliced shallots, fresh herbs, garlic and a sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan cheese for a slightly crispy finish.

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So what are common root vegetables? Potatoes are probably the most popular, followed by carrots, sweet potato and yam, turnips, parnsips, beets, rutabaga, celeriac and many that are unrecognizable without a chart.  For more info, here is a List of Root Vegetables and their characteristics. Surprisingly, everything in the onion family, including garlic, is actually considered a bulb not a root vegetable.  There are also tubers, rhizomes and corms, but don’t get me started. My lack of a botanical degree is showing…

TIPS:   Utilize any combination of your favorite root vegetables or whatever is available, even carrots. Try to buy vegetables that are similar in diameter so they cook evenly and make the layering easier. Don’t worry to much about it though.  If anything is significantly smaller, just double up the smaller rounds or tuck them in wherever.  I used goat cheese because I thought it’s tangy flavor would combine best with the earthy veggies but non goat cheese lovers can omit or substitute any cheese. You have the option of tucking it in between layers like I did or crumbling it all over the top for a bubbling, crispy, cheesy crust.  If you are pressed for time, you can skip the marinating of the shallots, they just might not get as crispy but they will be delicious. You can’t really go wrong.

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ROOT VEGETABLE TIAN
1  large russet potato
1 large sweet potato
2-3 other root vegetables ( parsnips, rutabaga, turnips, etc)
4-5 oz goat cheese (optional)
2-3 shallots
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsn parmesan cheese, Grated (ootional)
1 Tbsn fresh or 1 tsp dried thyme Leaves (or other fresh herbs)
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsn  olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable broth (optional)

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  • Slice a shallot into thin rings and put in a small bowl. Add the minced garlic and 1 tsp fresh thyme (or other fresh savory herb like oregano, rosemary or marjoram.  Drizzle with 1 Tablespoon olive oil and combine to coat.  Set aside.

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  • Peel the sweet potato, parsnips and other root vegetables (except the potato which can be peeled and placed in water but not sliced until the last minute because it browns so quickly) and slice into 1/4 inch thick rounds
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and lightly grease a baking dish with olive oil. Peel the potato and slice into 1/4 inch thick rounds.

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  • In the baking dish, arrange the potato, parsnip and sweet potato slices in a single layer, overlapping them as you go. Tuck in a round or crumbles of goat cheese, if using, every 3 or 4 slices or you can sprinkle them overt the top or both.  The shape of your dish will determine the pattern you use for your veggies. Think rows, circles or even pinwheels.

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  • Sprinkle the garlic mixture evenly over the top. Drizzle the top with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. if you like softer veggies you can pour a half cup of vegetable broth in the bottom of the pan (optional). For firmer veggies, omit the broth. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil.
  • Place the root vegetable tian in the preheated oven and bake for  about 30 minutes, or until potatoes are starting to become fork tender. Remove foil and sprinkle some grated Parmesan cheese over the top, then continue baking until cheese turns golden brown, about 5-10 minutes. If you like the top really browned, broil for a minute or two but watch it closely as it can overbrown quickly.

Root Vegetable Tian1

Root Vegetable Tian

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 60 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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1  large russet potato
1 large sweet potato
2-3 other root vegetables ( parsnips, rutabaga, turnips, etc)
4-5 oz goat cheese (optional)
2-3 shallots
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsn parmesan cheese, Grated (ootional)
1 Tbsn fresh or 1 tsp dried Thyme Leaves
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsn  olive oil

  •  Slice a shallot into thin rings and put in a small bowl. Add the minced garlic and 1 tsp fresh thyme (or other fresh savory herb like oregano, rosemary or marjoram.  Drizzle with 1 Tablespoon olive oil and combine to coat.  Set aside.  Drizzle with 1 tsp olive oil and combine to coat
  • Peel the sweet potato, parsnips and other root vegetables (except the potato) and slice into 1/4 inch thick rounds
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Lightly grease a 9″x11″ baking dish with butter
  • Peel the potato and slice into 1/4 inch thick rounds.
  • In the baking dish, arrange the potato, parsnip and sweet potato slices in a single layer, overlapping them as you go. Tuck in a round or crumbles of goat cheese, if using, every 3 or 4 slices  or you can sprinkle them overt the top or both.  The shape of your dish will determine the pattern you use for your veggies. Think rows, circles or even pinwheels..
  • Sprinkle the garlic mixture evenly over the top. Drizzle the top with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. if you like softer veggies you can pour a half cup of vegetable broth in the bottom of the pan (optional). For firmer veggies, omit the broth. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil.
  • Place the root vegetable tian in the preheated oven and bake for  about 30 minutes, or until potatoes are starting to become fork tender. Remove foil and sprinkle some grated Parmesan cheese over the top, then continue baking until cheese turns golden brown, about 5-10 minutes.  If you like the top really browned, broil for a minute or two but watch it closely as it can overbrown quickly.

 

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