My veg box gets delivered on a Tuesday, and although most of last week’s is usually used up in the cupboard cull that constitutes a weekend in my house, I’m sometimes left with some hangers on come Monday. Of course, soup is always a very respectable option (and usually a popular one at this time of year) but sometimes you just want something that you can sink your teeth into. This is where this recipe comes into its own.
Root vegetables are still ubiquitous at this time of year and as it will be a while before they make way for more delicate veg, need to be used up often. Unless of course, you want to be overrun by tubers. Do not let them lull you into a false sense of security. Yes, they do keep forever in a cool, dark place but that doesn’t mean you should turn them into museum pieces. With their high fibre, complex carbohydrate make up they’ll leave you feeling fuller for longer and with their high anti-oxidant levels they’ll not only help prevent nasties such as cancer, osteoporosis and heart disease; they’ll also help you to withstand the cold winter months ahead. But not by sitting in the veg rack.
These rosti are one of the easiest ways to deal with all sorts of root vegetables in my opinion. You’re not hampered by any long cooking times: all you’ll need is a grater and a clean tea towel and you’re away. Use whatever you have to hand. Parsnip, swede (or rutabaga), celeriac and kohlrabi all shine given this treatment, so let your only limits be your imagination. They’ll be delicious with whatever you serve them with but to turn these from a warming, comforting pancake to a superb complete midweek supper, I like to make a simple dish of Spanish baked eggs to serve on the side with some delicious paprika spiced chick peas and tomatoes. A perfect cold January night’s supper; you won’t even realise its Monday and meat free.
Spicy Root Rosti with Paprika Chick Peas and Leeks
For the rosti:
1 or 2 green chillis, depending on your taste
4 spring onions (scallions)
Salt and pepper
Around 850g of grated root vegetables. Think parsnip, potato, swede, celeriac, carrot or kohlrabi.
Prepare your vegetables and, once coarsely grated, drop the whole lot into a clean tea towel. Spread them out to form a not too deep layer. Fold the sides of the tea towel up and cover with another clean tea towel or some kitchen roll. Place several weights ( or a bowl of water) on top of the whole thing and leave to one side for any excess moisture to be squeezed out, leaving you free to get on with your baked eggs.
When you are ready, mix together the dried root veg with the finely chopped spring onion and chilli, with a good amount of seasoning. Heat up a frying pan with a good splash of olive oil. Using a chef’s ring to help you form the shape (helpful but not essential) dollop large dessert spoonfuls of the veg mixture into the pan. Do not cook over too high a heat, or you will end up with brown crispy outsides of your rosti, but raw powdery insides. Press down on each cake as they cook, then turn over and cook on the other side.
Drain on kitchen paper and keep warm in the oven.
For the chick pea stew/ baked eggs:
2 large leeks
4 cloves garlic
1 and 1/2 tbsps paprika
1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
2 400g tins chick peas
Salt and pepper
1 egg per person
Crush your garlic and leave to one side, then slice your washed leeks. Let the leeks soften in a splash of olive oil over a very low heat, in a pan that you can put in the oven later.
After around ten minutes, throw in the garlic and paprika and carry on cooking for about 2 minutes.
Preheat your oven to around 180 deg. C. then add the tin of tomatoes to the leeks, fill the tin with water and add that too.
Turn up the heat and let the sauce bubble and thicken for around ten minutes.
Add your chick peas, check your seasoning and return to a simmer.
Make a well in the sauce for each egg, then crack them into the wells individually and place the pan in the oven for around five to six minutes.
When your eggs are cooked, remove from the oven, and serve with the rosti sprinkled with fresh chopped parsley. Enjoy!