Christmas Vegetables 2011

This year we had two Christmas Dinners!  Jeremy and his family were here for a few days but had to leave on Christmas Eve day.  So we had our family dinner on the 23rd with our whole family.  Since Christmas Day fell on Sunday, the rest of the family went to church then came back here to have a mid day meal.  Both meals were wonderful…after all, it is not what is on the plate, but who is in the chairs, right?  I am choosing one recipe from each to include here. 

Christmas Day Dinner featured Shrimp Strata, Baby Green Peas, Maple Glazed Baby Carrots, Crispy Potatoes and Fennel, Croissants, and Eudora Welty’s famous White Fruitcake.  This skillet of potatoes and fennel is becoming a Christmas tradition in the Parker house.

Crispy Potatoes with Fennel

1 -2 fennel bulbs

3 Tablespoons olive oil

2 lb. small red potatoes, thinly sliced

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme (or use dried French Thyme)

1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

You need an old-fashioned 9 or 10 inch iron skillet to bake this due to the high oven heat. 

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.  Rinse fennel well, trim root end and stalks. and thinly slice bulb.  Add oil to cast iron skillet.  Arrange half of potato slices, layer with fennel slices and then add another layer of potato slices.  Sprinkle with thyme, salt, and pepper.  Cover with foil. Bake at 475 for 35 minutes, uncover and bake 15 more minutes or until potatoes are browned.  Serve hot.  May be transferred to serving dish.  Serves 6- 8.  This is an adaptation of recipe from December 2010 Southern Living. We doubled it, making 2 skillets!

 Our Friday night gathering included smoked turkey and cornbread dressing with roasted root vegetables, Parmesan green beans, and fresh fruit salad of pears, pineapple and pomegranate, Yeast Rolls, and Christmas treats hand dipped by Maddie and Jordannn. 

Roasted Rosemary Root Vegetables

1 large onion1 medium Rutabaga

2 small purple top turnips

1 bag parsnips

3 large carrots

2 sweet potatoes

2 Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

Olive oil and sea salt

Peel and chop all vegetables into one inch cubes.  Toss rosemary, olive oil and sea salt in a large bowl, then spread on foil covered baking sheet in single layer.  Roast at 425 degrees until vegetables are fork tender.   Serve at once.

Cook’s note:  We love roasted beets, but if included in the mix, everything turns beet color.  So I roast a few small beets separately and add them on top.  This year, I also added one bunch of tiny white Japense turnips. 


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