Winter Vegetable Dishes

Veg boxes are now stuffed full of filling root vegetables for roasting or mashing and loads of dark, green leafy stuff. Bubble and squeak is one of the easiest ways to use up roots and greens at this time of year, or you could make big hearty stews with added meat or pulses. Comfort food is everything when you get home in the dark with cold fingers and damp trousers!

To sneak in extra veg you can try replacing half the amount of minced beef or lamb in a recipe with pumpkin, carrots, peppers, mushrooms and/or courgettes that have been finely chopped, grated or briefly blitzed in the food processor. This works well with chillis, meaty pasta sauces or cottage pie etc.

Any recipe that uses mashed potato can include any combination of mashed swede, carrot, turnip, parsnip, celeriac etc. Add lots of butter and season with freshly ground nutmeg, salt and pepper. Perfect for bangers and mash and shepherds pie; or just served alongside meat and homemade gravy.

Alternatively, you can cut those root veg into chunks, cubes or chips, mix with pork lard (always from pastured pigs), season with plenty of salt and pepper and then roast in a hot oven until everything is looking a bit crispy around the edges. Try adding rosemary, thyme or sage; chilli flakes and a few cloves of unpeeled garlic to squish out of their skins later. You might need to stir through once or twice to brown your veggies evenly. Add sausages to the roasting pan for an easy and sustaining supper.

Forget about boiling cabbage, kale and other leafy greens or cruciferous veggies. Once you do that it smells funny, and loses its more delicate tastes along with many of the vitamins. Shred, rinse and shove in a pan with some butter. Put the lid on and leave on a medium heat until the butter is melted and the greens are heated through and slightly wilted. You can do the same with leeks. Try adding caraway seeds, cumin seeds or garlic while the butter is melting. You can fry diced sweet potato, parsnip or carrot matchsticks in plenty of butter too. The parsnips and carrots will be good with cinnamon, cumin, thyme or carraway and either sage or sweet smoked paprika will lift the sweet potato.

And, if you don’t think you are a fan of Brussels sprouts try halving them before roasting in a hot oven with plenty of pork lard and a liberal dusting of sea salt and freshly ground pepper. You may well change your mind!