Preparing the Thanksgiving meal can be an overwhelming process, especially if you haven’t done it before. One of the best tools you can have to make life easier is a simple dish that will be easy to make yet deliver on flavor. Roasting vegetables makes such a great option. Roasting brings out such great flavors in vegetables it’s a wonder why we ever bother preparing them any other. One side dish recipe I suggest is one I recently tried out – Ina Garten’s Thanksgiving Oven-Roasted Vegetables. This is a combination of potatoes, fennel, and Brussels sprouts. For the Barefoot Contessa’s recipe, visit Food Network’s website. Below you will find my notes from this recipe.
1. With my produce knowledge I found ways to up the flavor ante even more. I used four different varieties of fingerling potatoes, each with their own unique flavor profile. The Brussels sprouts I used I got at the farmer’s market. They were harvested after a frost which means their flavor is sweeter. We also had just finished cooking some bacon in the oven (best way to get it super crispy) and there was bacon fat remaining on sheet pan. So I threw the split sprouts right on top of that same pan to impart them with some smoky bacon flavor!
2. The recipe calls for 2 small fennel bulbs, but the only ones I found at the farmer’s market were large. So I sliced it into wedges as small as I could making sure a piece of the core was still attached.
3. My Brussels sprouts cooked much faster than the fennel and potatoes. At the 20 minute mark they were ready to be pulled from the oven. The leaves in my sprouts were more open, less dense, so I think that helped them cook faster as well as helping them crisp up really nicely.
4. The potatoes and fennel were finished roasting at about the 40 minute mark.
I wasn’t sure how I was going to like the fennel with my potatoes, but it all worked together perfectly fine – besides I found myself just eating the individual vegetable. It was a nice contrast in flavor and texture with each bite.