I have had an ambivalent relationship with root veggies for quite some years. In theory I always have and always will love them. Whats not to love? They are filled with nutrients and fibers, they are cheap, beautiful coloured, have awesome shapes and look rather rad! But sometimes just the thought of them could make my stomach flip and taste buds sing sad songs. I actually do think it has nothing on them – and that it’s just something that my minds tricks my body into thinking, but how do you argue with your first instinct towards food – it really does not make you wanna get cooking.
I believe that this has something to do with the fact that root veggies are in season for a looonge time here in the north, and the fact that my health conscious parents made weekly batches of oven roasted root vegetables throughout my entire childhood. And that does get kinda boring, at least to me, and the worst thing you can do is over do food. It makes you get bored, repulsed and at last you don’t want to eat anything even remotely resembling that specific thing.
Well luckily I do not give up on something as essential as root vegetables. For a long time I have been avoiding baked versions, and instead used raw carrots and beets in salads. Furthermore I have banned the weekly childhood stars as potatoes and parsnip and instead introduced different kinds as celeriac and sweet potatoes. Slowly I have been adding root vegetables to everything from Cake to Patties and even welcomed them into Smoothie Bowls and my preference have slowly been in favour of the amazing roots.
Now I have come so far that I actually do make different roasted root veggies on a weekly autumn + vinter basis, and I have come to appreciate the sweet and earthy flavours, especially paired with feta and avocado.
To celebrate the repaired root relationship and a great danish classic I have made this gorgeous autumn dish. We call it ‘Brændende Kærlighed’ directly translated into ‘Burning Love’. Originally it is a heavy potatoes mash served with fried bacon & onion and topped with pickled beetroot & parsley. I have turned my love dish a bit more light and healthy – and here the mash is made of celeriac and cauliflower, but you can just as well try to add or use, parsnip, potatoes and jerusalem artichokes. Instead of using pickled beets I chose to use honey and fennel sautéed beets and carrots which add a lovely flavour and texture to the dish. The bacon is of course optional, but if you eat meat, it is a lovely salty and flavour filled twist and the parsley kinda rounds of the dish and makes it look so pretty. The dish is easily whipped up and makes for a great comfort dish, and as an extra bonus the colours are very welcomed on a grey autumn day.
A danish classic ‘ Burning Love’
Cauliflower & celeriac mash
1 head of cauliflower (700-800 g)
1 head of celeriac (700-800 g)
3 tbsp organic butter
1 bundle fresh parsley
6 sprigs of tarragon (optional)
1 tsp/cube good quality vegetable bouillion
2 tsp salt
Caramelized & roasted roots
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 medium beet roots, peeled and chopped
1-2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp fennel seeds, chopped
A pinch of salt
Fresh ground pepper
200 g good quality bacon
Start by washing the cauliflower, cut it into large chunks and place in a large pot. Cut the rough skin of the celeriac, thereafter cut into smaller pieces and put it into the pot with the cauliflower. Add the bouillon and top it with water. Bring to a boil and let it simmer until both vegetables are very tender, around 20 min. Drain the vegetables and leave just around 1/4 cup if the water in the pot. Grab a large whisker or a potato masher (those are so cool), add the butter and salt and mash up everything until you have a chunky mash. Add the herbs, pepper and season to taste.
In a large very hot skillet fry the bacon until crisp and remove onto a plate covered with a piece of kitchen towel. Pour some of the fat from the bacon into a little bowl and leave around 1 tbsp in the skillet. Add the carrots along with half the syrup, fennel seeds and some salt and pepper. Sautéed the carrots for 5-10 min until they start looking a little golden, but still al dente. Remove from the heat. Repeat the process with the beetroots, use a little of the bacon fat and sautéed the beets like the carrots but add 5 more minutes to the cooking time.
When all elements are done, place a generous portion of mash in a bowl, top with a handful of beets, carrots, some crispy bacon and a little fresh parsley and serve straight away.