Roasted Root Vegetable Dill Stew & Fluffy Biscuits

Our winter CSA (community supported agriculture) pickup was on Thursday. We decided to join a Winter CSA to supplement our diets with organic locally grown vegetables. I knew Andy would initially be hesitant to join the CSA if it would be a lot of money for very little food, or one that supplemented their veggies with out of state food. It was important to me too to find a CSA that was grown within 25 miles of our home, and had convenient pick up. I knew it would be the basic root veggies for the winter, and I was hoping to get challenged with some I had never had before. Normally we grow parsnips and just leave them to winter and pick them as needed, but this year we didn’t. We also don’t have any root cellar which rules out our own crop.

I ended up finding the perfect Winter CSA grown within the 25 miles, and the pickup is right near my office. We can also buy organic eggs and meat separately, which I love. It’s 6 months long and pick up is every 2 weeks. As well, all veggies are locally grown with no non-local supplementation. It goes through May, which will help supplement us until our garden is ready, especially if the next planting season is anything like this year. Also, I can be assured it’s all from right here. I don’t mind buying them at the grocery store, but if I’m paying extra for a CSA, I want it local.

We’re hoping to someday get a cold frame built to put over at least 1/4 to 1/2 of our garden to have our own crops during the winter, but for now the CSA is a great choice for us. We get about a regular grocery bag of food every 2 weeks. While it’s most definitely not all of our veggies, it certainly helps. I also love supporting local farmers so this makes me feel good too.

Tonight after a long day of painting, cleaning & general malaise I decided we needed a hearty stew for dinner. One of the veggies we got was celeriac which I had never had. It turns out I love it.

Ingredients

No need to adhere to the veggies below, just use any root veggies you have on hand and dice them up into bite size pieces.

  • 1 Sweet Potato
  • 3 medium Regular Potato’s
  • 8 medium Turnips
  • 2 bulbs Celeriac (celery root)
  • 1 small butternut squash
  • 3-4 small/medium carrots
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 3 medium cloves garlic
  • Chicken Stock (enough to cover vegetables) [To make vegan substitute vegetable broth]
  • 1/2 cup 1% milk (optional) [To make vegan substitute nut milk of choice, almond would work nice]
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch to thicken (optional)
  • Olive Oil/Vegetable Oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1.5-2 tbsp Dill
  • Pinch Celery seed

Directions

1.) Heat oven to 400 and start pot of water. I suggest using one pot that will be large enough to make the soup in, or else you’ll need two pots.

2.) Dice all veggies. Set onion & garlic and celeriac aside.

This is celeriac. Cut the top off. Cut the bottom off, and skin. It’s just that easy! Don’t be intimidated.

3.) Add celeriac root to boiling water for 15 minutes. Being honest, I’m not sure why you couldn’t roast it. I read different preparation ways and most places said boil it. Since I’ve never used it I followed the majority. I say try and roast it if you want, I see no reason why it wouldn’t work.

4.) Spread remaining veggies (except onion & garlic) on a cookie sheets or two and drizzle with oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in oven for 10 minutes. I recommend putting all butternut squash on one end of a cookie sheet, since you’ll want to keep this aside to add in at the end.

5.) Drain celeriac root and set aside in a bowl or on the cookie sheet with the butternut squash to add in at the end.

6.) Add a large pad of butter to the pan. Once melted put in the garlic and onions and saute for 5 minutes. Add in all of the roasted veggies except celeriac and butternut squash. Turn the heat down to medium and let go for about 5 minutes, gently stirring once or twice.

7.) Add chicken stock to cover the veggies, dill, celery seed, salt and pepper and put on low and simmer until the potatoes & sweet potatoes are fork tender. If you want to thicken, take about 2 tablespoons of hot broth out and add cornstarch to it. Whisk until entirely dissolved and add back to the soup. Do not add cornstarch into the entire batch of soup, it will clump and stirring will break your veggies apart.

There’s a reason this is called a Dill stew.

8.) Turn off the heat to the soup. If adding milk, slowly pour and gently stir, or temper into a smaller bowl of hot broth and pour back in.

9.) Biscuits. Get this can. Half the directions of the back for about 9 mug sized biscuits. Add a little more baking soda for fluffier biscuits. Secrets out – this is how my grandpa made his best biscuits, my mom made hers, and I make mine. I have a couple different ways I make them, but these are my favorite.

10.) Eat. Fill that bowl up, butter that biscuit up and mow down.

Happy Cold Winter Days & Hot Stew,

Heather

 

Peter Pipers Pickling Party {Dill Relish & Bread and Butter Slices}

I need to figure out Peter Piper’s method for was growing veggies he could pick a peck of  that were already pickled. Until then, August is pickling season. Once again our garden has inundated us with mass quantities of cucumbers, within the last week. So I spent this past rainy Sunday in the kitchen processing about 14+ pounds of cucumbers. First up was 8 pounds of relish, and then about a gallon of bread and butter pickles. This is the first year I made relish, and it was a great way to use up the cucumbers that weren’t up to par for pickles.

My most favorite addition to this years harvest has hands down been my mandolin. It’s really important keep your pickles uniform so they heat evenly, and the mandolin allowed me to get slices of the same thickness.

For the recipes on this post I used the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. This post is in no way paid for/sponsored by Ball, I just think they are a really great source. If you’re unfamiliar with home preservation techniques, I suggest you read the book and do some research. It’s extremely important your fruit is washed and unblemished, your jars are sterilized and your kitchen is clean before you start with everything laid out as you need it. The last thing you want is any sort of bacterial introduction, and/or to be running around grabbing things when you’re ladling hot liquids.

Dill Pickle Relish (taken from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving)

  • 8 pounds cucumbers
  • 1/2 cup picking/sea salt (do not use table salt for canning, ever)
  • 2 tsp ground tumeric
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 1/2 cups finely chopped onions (I found a mandolin worked great for this)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp dill seeds (I had no dill seeds, so I used a hefty portion of dried dill. I really wanted super dill relish though. Remember whatever you use will get stronger over time).
  • 4 cups white vinegar (about 5% acidity)

Directions (abbreviated from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, with notes from myself added in)

1. Finely chop cucumbers in small batches, transferring to a glass or stainless bowl as you finish. A food processor works great for this. Sprinkle with pickling salt and tumeric. Cover with water and place in fridge for about 2 hours.

2. Drain cucumbers and rinse thoroughly. Press extra water out with your hands in small batches. I initially use a couple books to press the water out.

3. Prepare canner, jars and lids.
4. Combine vinegar, dill, sugar and onions in large saucepan. Add in drained cucumbers. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce and boil gently, stirring to prevent sticking. Do this until slightly thickened and vegetables are heated through. This will take about 10 minutes to reduce.

5. Ladle hot relish into jars leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Wipe rim, and seal handtight. My advice is to only fill one jar at a time and seal. Don’t leave the jar uncovered once filled.
6. Place jars back in the canner, until completely covered with water. Once the water is at a full rolling boil again, time for 15 minutes (this will depending on your altitude, research proper processing times for your area). Wait 5 minutes, remove jars and cool. Do not tilt jars to dump water off the top when you pull them out. This water will quickly evaporate.
Store in a cool dry place and give a few months for optimal taste, though it can be eaten within a few days.

Bread and Butter Pickles (adapted from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving)

  • 10 cups sliced pickling cucumbers
  • 5 small onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup Kosher salt
  • 3 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 2 tablespoons mustard seeds
 Directions (seriously abbreviated from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, with notes from myself added in)
1. Slide onions thinly and cucumbers into rounds of the similar size – this is where a mandoline comes in super handy! Combine cucumbers, onions, salt in a glass or ceramic bowl. Cover with water and let sit at room temperature for 2 hours. I cover with plastic wrap to keep anything out of the mix.
2. Rinse the cucumbers then drain thoroughly.
3. Combine vinegar, sugar, turmeric, celery seed and mustard seed in a large pot until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
4.  Turn to low, add the cucumbers and heat through, about 10 minutes. Do not boil. Turn heat off if using gas, or remove from burner if using electric heat. At this point they will already taste pretty much awesome.
5. Add cucumber first to the jars and then fill with pickling liquid to cover pickles. Leave a generous 1/2 inch headspace.  Clean rims, add hot lids and rings. Process about 15 minutes in a hot water bath at a full boil. Remember “processing time” doesn’t start until it hits full boil.

After a long day in the kitchen over boiling water and vinegar, in the middle of August, I was ready for nothing except to take a shower. So tomorrow’s lunch will be almond butter and jelly. {If you lost me – I normally make lunch for the next day at night, and I was done with the kitchen}.

I’m shuddering looking at all of the equally green tomato’s in the garden.  I may need to nip this in the butt and make some green tomato salsa.

Ok, in all reality – I love it. I love not having to buy this stuff. I love having on the go gifts. I love putting up produce we grow and harvest right in our back yard. A garden is a great thing to have.

Happy Pickling,
Heather