Roasted winter vegetables with couscous. I came up with this recipe in the early 90's, when my girls were counter-high, or less. How hard is it to come up with a recipe for roasted winter vegetables when you've been reading recipes in the media for years, ranging from the stately pages of the late, great Gourmet, through the food sections of the New York Times and the Hartford Courant, to the unpretentious pages of Family Circle? And how hard is it to come up with a recipe for spiced couscous? The one I use to accompany these roasted winter vegetables, in fact, may even be verbatim from Gourmet.
Even though I don't remember the exact year when I hatched this recipe, my paper copy, stained, yellowed, torn, and dripped upon, looks like it belongs in the National Archives.
I look at this recipe now and I wonder what I was thinking the day I produced it. At the time, I had three little kids and a job, yet I was willing to spend 30 to 40 minutes chopping some of nature's stoniest vegetables, and furthermore willing to give 90 minutes to the process of roasting them. I will say, though, that when served on top of a heap of curry and cumin-scented couscous, these winter vegs were pretty tasty.
But time-consuming to make. That's probably why, after preparing this recipe each winter for a few years, I retired it, rebelling not only against the physical effort of cubing all those rocklike veggies, but also against the amount of forethought it would take to put this opus on the table.
Nevertheless, this week, after so many years, I pulled this recipe from my archives. Its required degree of effort and forethought are no longer such a concern: My three girls aren't as present in the house, and my work doesn't occupy as much of my time. Plus, it's the right season for this kind of cooking: I wouldn't roast vegetables on a hot day. And there's lots of fiber here, along with far fewer calories than, say, red meat. No animals have to die for this one.
For a salad to go with it, I used a mix of baby greens and herbs, adding a little chopped fresh dill and parsley. I had a heel of going-stale bread in the fridge and I cut it into cubes and sauteed them in a little olive oil to make croutons.
Before serving the salad, I dusted it with a little crumbled feta.
Joe becomes a member of the Auburn Road Clean Plate Club.
Here's the recipe: