I have to admit, my relationship with root vegetables has been a bit complicated over the years.
I’ve always loved the idea of them – they’re packed with nutrients and fibers, they’re cheap, and they come in a variety of beautiful colors and shapes. But, for some reason, the thought of them would sometimes make my stomach flip and my taste buds sing sad songs. I think it’s because my health-conscious parents would make weekly batches of oven-roasted root vegetables throughout my childhood and, let’s be real, that can get a little boring.
But, I didn’t want to give up on something as essential as root vegetables. So, I started avoiding baked versions and instead used raw carrots and beets in salads. I also banned the weekly childhood stars like potatoes and parsnips and introduced new kinds like celeriac and sweet potatoes. Slowly but surely, I started adding root vegetables to everything from cakes to patties and even welcomed them into smoothie bowls.
And, you know what?
I fell in love with them all over again.
Now, I make different roasted root veggies on a weekly basis during the fall and winter. I’ve come to appreciate the sweet and earthy flavors, especially when paired with feta and avocado. To celebrate my renewed love for root vegetables, I decided to make a classic Danish dish called “Brændende Kærlighed” which directly translates to “Burning Love”.
The dish is traditionally a heavy potato mash served with fried bacon and onion, topped with pickled beetroot and parsley. I decided to lighten it up a bit and used celeriac and cauliflower for the mash, but you could also add or use parsnip, potatoes, or Jerusalem artichokes. Instead of using pickled beets, I chose to use honey and fennel sautéed beets and carrots, which added a lovely flavor and texture to the dish. The bacon is optional, but it adds a nice salty and flavorful twist. The parsley rounds off the dish and makes it look so pretty.
This dish is easily whipped up and makes for great comfort, especially on a grey autumn day. The colors are also perfect for the season. So, don’t give up on root vegetables just yet – try new ways of cooking and serving them, and you might just fall in love all over again.
Danish Burning Love
- 750 g cauliflower
- 750 g celeriac
- 3 tbsp organic butter
- 1 bundle fresh parsley
- 6 tarragon
- 1 tsp good quality vegetable bouillion
- 2 tsp salt
- Fresh pepper
Caramelized & roasted roots
- 4 carrots peeled and chopped
- 2 beet roots peeled and chopped
- 1.5 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp fennel seeds chopped
- A pinch of salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- 200 g good quality bacon
- Fresh parsley
- 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.