Thanksgiving has now come and gone. At my home, we enjoyed a great dinner; I hope that you did, too.
I made these Roasted Vegetables with Cardamom as part of our Thanksgiving feast. They were a last minute addition to the table, but turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the meal.
I adapted this dish from the recipe for Roasted Turnips with Maple and Cardamom in the October/November 2009 issue of Fine Cooking Magazine. I was intrigued the moment I saw the recipe because I hadn’t ever used cardamom like this before.
Cardamom is not inexpensive; I held out on purchasing it for quite a while because at more than $13 for a small jar, I figured I could surely get by without it! But once it joined my spice collection, I quickly succumbed to cardamom’s charms and won’t be able to go without it again. Since cardamom has a very strong flavor and most recipes (including this one) call for small amounts, I’m hoping my jar will last quite a while…
As far as cooking with cardamom goes, it is used frequently in dishes of Indian origin. It is also traditionally used in Scandinavian countries, as both an addition to breads and pastries and as one of the ingredients in the mulled wine known as Glogg. Cardamom is also favored in the Middle East; in fact, much of the cardamom harvested in the world is exported to Arab nations and used there to flavor coffee.
Medicinally, cardamom is used much like cinnamon, to aid digestion.
Though this dish it is perfectly holiday-appropriate, there is nothing about this recipe that screams Thanksgiving…I’m definitely making this again, and soon.
Roasted Vegetables with Cardamom
adapted from the recipe for Roasted Turnips with Maple and Cardamom in the October/November 2009 issue of Fine Cooking Magazine
*3 1/2 pounds (about 10 cups, diced) mixed winter squash/root vegetables (I used a combination of butternut squash, carrots, turnips and parsnips), peeled and diced
*3 tablespoons olive oil
*2 tablespoons unsalted butter, preferably organic
*3 tablespoons maple syrup
generous pinch of red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper
*5 cardamom seeds/pods (the original recipe calls for 1/8 tsp. ground cardamom and 1/4 tsp. ground coriander)
*1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
*2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
1. Position racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F (note that the original recipe called for a 475°F oven; this seemed really hot to me, and I was afraid I'd burn the veggies, but you are welcome to try the recipe at this temperature). Line two large, heavy-duty rimmed baking sheets with foil.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine the vegetables, oil, and 1 1/2 tsp. salt. Toss to coat well. Divide the vegetables between the two pans and spread evenly in one layer. Roast for 20 minutes. With a large spatula, flip the vegetables. Swap the pans’ positions and roast until tender and nicely browned on a few sides, 15 to 20 minutes. (The vegetables on the lower rack may be done sooner than those on the upper rack; watch that they do not burn).
3. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Whisk in the maple syrup, vanilla, and the red pepper flakes. Add the cardamom seeds and allow to infuse over very low heat for 1-2 minutes (if using ground cardamom and/or coriander, whisk in after the red pepper flakes). Remove the pan from the heat.
4. Transfer the vegetables to a large mixing bowl. Gently reheat the sauce, if necessary, and stir in the lemon juice. With a heatproof spatula, toss the sauce with the roasted vegetables. Add half of the cilantro and salt to taste and toss again. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with the remaining cilantro.
More information about and recipes using cardamom:
The Herb Companion’s Article on Cardamom
Xacuti, a Goan chicken dish, from Healthy Green Kitchen
Kalyn’s Spicy Red Lentil and Chickpea Stew
Tartelette’s Cardamom and Saffron Ice Cream