The Holidays are upon us here in Copenhagen and ’tis the season for traditions; We’ve been to the Christmas markets, bought the presents, and watched the Home Alone movies.
But this year is different though, as baby August came tumbling into our lives 5 weeks ago, ready to shake things up. This means celebrating Christmas together as a family, but it’s actually also the first time Camilla and I will be celebrating Christmas Eve together. Previously we’ve been travelling back and forth betweens our parents’ for each of the festivities during the Holidays as they live quite close to each other, but doing so this year with baby gear and all seems kinda cumbersome (Having a baby really sharpens your sense of planning and logistics – as well as your other ninja skillz such as speed, stealth, and sheer endurance).
Today’s recipe is not as particularly inspired by the Holidays as it is inspired by Winter time and the insanely delicious vegetables in season right now. We love the variety of root vegetables available at the groceries’ and the surprisingly vivid colours they feature. The deep purple beets; the candy-striped Chioggia beets; the orange or magenta carrots, just to name a few. They can transform almost any dish into something vibrant, taking your thoughts far away from sad and grey Winter days. And they’re quite healthy, too.
The possibilities are numerous, but with this recipe we decided to pop the root vegetables in the oven for a roast. When roasted like this they develop a warm, sweet, and somehow ‘creamy’ taste. Pair the vegetables with something crunchy, like the Cavolo Nero; yet another exiting and tasty seasonal green which we’ve become rather fond of lately. This Italian Winter kale is full of structure and taste and packs lots of ‘bite’ if only marinated and massaged lightly with lemon juice, olive oil, and a pinch of salt.
Tosh it all on a base of creamy and filling polenta, garnish with a dash of parley pesto and you’ve got yourself a delicious dish of comfort food for the cold evenings.
Polenta w. Oven Roasted Root Vegetables
(Makes 4 servings)
1 sweet potato
1¼ cup / 190 g polenta
4 cups vegetable stock
2 tbsp grated parmesan or 2 tbsp nutritional yeast for vegan version (optional)
150 g fresh kale (we used Cavolo Nero)
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
A pinch of salt
1 handful of fresh parsley
1 glove of garlic
1 tbsp capers
1 tbsp lemon juice
¼ cup / 60 ml olive oil
Preheat the oven to 200 C / 400 F.
Chop the vegetables into stalks. Place on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil, salt and fresh thyme.
Bake for 45 min. Prepare the parsley pesto, polenta, and kale while the vegetables are in the oven.
Place polenta, vegetable stock, and parmesan in a small sauce pan. Bring to a simmer and stir frequently until the polenta thickens (approx. 10 min.). If it gets too thick you can always add more water.
Remove the stems from the kale and chop into small pieces. Place the kale in a bowl with olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. Massage the kale with olive oil, lemon juice, and salt for a few minutes until it starts to soften.
Place parsley, garlic, capers and lemon juice in a blender and blend while adding the olive oil little by little until smooth.
Scoop polenta into a deep plate or bowl and top with baked vegetables and kale. Drizzle with parsley pesto and serve immediately. Enjoy!