Root Vegetables Enrich Hearty Comfort Dishes
Fresh vegetables aren’t always top of mind when thinking about hearty dishes best served in the chill of winter. But incorporating vegetables into dishes during this colder season can be just as easy as it is with the bounty of the summer. Root vegetables like butternut squash and beets can complement rich dishes typically reserved for pasta or other heavy carbs.
Here’s a look at how two chefs in Portland, Oregon, are working with root vegetables in creative ways that provide both nutritional and flavor appeal.
Milk-Braised Pork Shoulder Stroganoff with Butternut Squash Noodles
Adam Sappington | Executive Chef at The Country Cat
This dish is a home run; it’s that dish that people will come back for because they don’t necessarily want to make it at home or have time to. The pork shoulder is perfect for this dish because it has beautiful marbling, it’s great for braising, and it works really well with milk.
The shoulder is browned and then braised in milk flavored with vanilla, star anise, lemon juice, sage, chili flakes, and cinnamon. It’s paired with a rich brown butter stroganoff sauce with fresh thyme, chanterelle mushrooms, and pearl onions, all over fresh butternut squash noodles.
The impression this dish evokes is 100 percent about seasonality, and it’s an incredibly comforting dish—guests walk into the restaurant and smell all the wonderful fall aromatics. It’s one of those dishes that have them coming back for more.
You could easily substitute different root-vegetable noodles for the butternut squash, like carrot or sweet potato. The butternut squash just works so well with all the other warm and bright fall flavors—especially its sweetness and nuttiness. The texture also holds up really well to the pork, and it’s a great option for a gluten-free dish.
Fried Beets with Smoked Blue Cheese Dressing
Trevor Payne | Chef at Tanner Creek Tavern
Beets are always a somewhat divisive root vegetable, but this preparation has been a hit from day one, even among those who typically shun beets. I think guests like the virtuous appeal of getting their veggies, but the fact that they’re deep-fried gives them comfort-food appeal. It’s a great snack with a beer.