Root Vegetables with Anise and Thyme

I know that it’s irrational, but I’m angry with the weather.  It’s just a general consuming rage that can’t be tuned and targeted at any one or anything in particular, but still I find myself glowering when the sun starts to set at 7:30 pm, scowling out the window at the frost on my car in the morning, and muttering rather salty things under my breath when I see that the temperature has dropped to 3 degrees above freezing.  IN OCTOBER.  It’s true.  I have a general angst and bee in my bonnet, and I attribute it to the fact that we got conned out of an Indian summer this year.

I love those long, hot, lazy days of Indian summer where the sky is at it’s brightest blue.  The air feels crisp and the light is golden.  The smell of fall is just starting to seep into the periphery, but it’s the warm and slightly sweet smell of dry leaves and crackling fireplaces – not the musky cold smell of late fall, which in Canada is more like First Winter.

This year there was no Indian summer.  One day we were slick with sweat and drinking margaritas on the deck, the next day we were bundled up in oversized sweaters and wooly socks, wondering what happened. I still keep buying corn and tomatoes in an attempt to capture some of that late summer spirit, but alas – it’s already too late.  So fine, FINE.  I may not be able to embrace the fact that it’s late fall already, but I’ll at least send a nod in that direction….via roasted root vegetables, a sure sign that fall is upon us. 

Root Vegetables with Anise and Thyme

  • 3 large carrots
  • 2 large parsnip
  • 1 celery root/celeriac
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp anise seed *
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • salt and pepper
* Anise seed may also called ‘anisette‘.  It has a very pungent and slightly sweet black licorice taste.  Anise seed is very similar to fennel seed, so if you cannot find it in the supermarket you can feel free to make the substitution.
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Peel all of the root vegetables and give them a nice rinse and pat dry.
Cut each into chunks of approximately the same size, about an inch to an inch and a half.  The tips of carrots and parsnip, which taper, can be left slightly longer.  The fat tops of the vegetables should be shorter.  Not every piece will be the same shape, but as long as they’re roughly the same weight and surface area it will help to cook evenly.
Toss these with the olive oil and sprinkle the dried herbs on top.  Season these generously with both salt and pepper, and really give everything some good flips and shakes so no chunk remains uncoated.  These can go into a 9 x 13 casserole dish or on a baking sheet.  The anise seed adds a slightly different flavor from what we’re used to, and it blends well with the sweetness and variations in taste of the root vegetables.
Peel the eight cloves of garlic, and disperse them throughout.
Into the oven, away!!  Let these roast away until they’re done, flipping and stirring every 10 – 15 minutes to make sure that they do not burn or cook unevenly.  The cooking time will depend on how big your chunks are, but will likely be in the range of 30 – 45 minutes.  When they are fork tender they’re ready to come out.  Take a nibble to see if you need more salt and pepper (seasoning is your friend, truly) and that’s it.
Roasted vegetables are so simple, painless, but delicious and satisfying on a cold fall day like today.  
  • Pingback: Leg of Lamb with Roasted Garlic, Goat Cheese and Balsamic Figs()

  • http://www.creampuffsinvenice.ca Ivonne

    Anise with your roast vegetables … love it!

  • http://www.choosy-beggars.com Tina

    Thanks Ivonne!! I think that Anise gets very neglected when it comes to savoury cooking, which is a cryin’ shame. I’m more than willing to do my part to bring it into the limelight, at least once in a while!