Homemade Root Vegetable Crisps

Since my son’s diagnosis as coeliac we’ve had to take a look at everything we eat and see how it can fit in with a gluten free diet. With the sun showing a lot more of itself recently, the prospect of a picnic becomes a real one, and one which usually involves a bag of crisps. We don’t eat many crisps, but they kind of have to be involved in a picnic. The trouble is that many crisps seem to not be gluten free, due to different flavourings and being unable to guarantee that no cross-contamination occurs in the factory. As a result, we have a limited source of commercially available crisps (although PomBears are gluten free and were a favourite anyway). This, and the discovery of a rogue beetroot at the allotment when digging last week, led me to the decision to make our own. I can guarantee no cross-contamination; it’s my kitchen.

Vegetable crisps have been around for a while, probably since the mid-19th century when the potato crisp was also popularised, however they have never been a mass market snack. They are however, delicious. They’re also pretty simple to make.

root vegetables

You will need (for the equivalent of a large bag of crisps)
1 beetroot
1 large carrot
1 large parsnip
Oil for frying (I used rape-seed oil, but any mild flavoured oil is good)
Flaked sea salt

First, make sure the vegetables are clean and free of soil on the outside of the skin (they’re best with the skins left on I think). Using a speed peeler, peel thin slices of the vegetables to form the ‘crisps’. You’ll find that the initial peelings are usually a little too small, but as you get further into the vegetable they will become more of a suitable size. Once you’ve got a pile of shaved vegetables; it’s best to remove some of the moisture by placing them on a paper towel and pressing from above with another piece to absorb any liquid. This helps to give you a crisper crisp.

The next stage is to fry the crisps and to do this you need a saucepan of hot oil. I’ve never been a fan of deep frying things, but if you get the oil to a high temperature you don’t tend to get a greasy result; just a crispy one. So, heat some oil to 150ºC and fry the vegetable slices in batches (it’s probably best to leave the beetroot to last as it does give the oil a rosy hue) until lightly golden and crisp, 2 to 5 minutes per batch. When the crisps are crisp, remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon, allowing excess oil to drain away before placing the chips on a paper towel covered baking tray. Salt the hot crisps immediately and start the next batch of vegetables. Once you’ve fried all the crisps, toss them in a bowl and you’re ready to devour these moreish snacks.

Obviously, this recipe is adaptable. You can use lots of different root vegetables. Celeriac works really well, both as a snack, but also a garnish for soup. Parsnip or Jerusalem artichoke crisps on their own would be an excellent accompaniment to a simply roasted guinea fowl, or a steak. But of course, a bag of these makes a great snack for a picnic.

root vegetable crisps

 

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Roasted Jerusalem Artichoke and Cauliflower Soup – A Guest Post from @MissAmyPhipps

Recently my friend  of the fabulous Little Button Diaries recommended I check out one of her friends’ blogs. Amy blogs about her life; you’ll find recipes, craft projects, tips on gardening, and design inspiration. Amy and I met the other week and we decided to swap posts and write for each others blogs.

Here is Amy’ guest post. It looks delicious Amy. I’ll be giving it a go with the last of my Jerusalem artichokes.

Roasted Jerusalem Artichoke and Cauliflower Soup
The sun might be shining but let’s not forget it is only march and deceptively chilly in the shade… enough so to enjoy a hearty soup of a lunchtime. Especially when its harvest season for some of the most delicious root veg! I love cooking this recipe because not only is it jam packed with cold fighting ingredients, but yields enough for a dinner for the family or to fridge and last for 3 or 4 lunches. Fresh and creamy but totally vegan and gluten free!

Roasting the vegetables traps in their goodness and gives the most wonderful caramelised flavour. Do not be put off the slightly porridge look of the blended soup for what it lacks in visuals it makes up in abundant flavours!cauliflower and artichokes

You will need:
5/6 medium Jerusalem artichokes
A medium head of cauliflower (or half a giant one like the one pictured!)
1 bulb of garlic
1 red onion
1 white onion
1 lemon
A couple of good sprigs of rosemary
100ml rapeseed oil
2 litres of wheat free vege stock such as Kallo or Marigold
A food processor or good stick blender is essential!

To make the soup…
Pre heat your oven at 180 degrees. Chop the veg into medium sized chunks and muddle together in a large roasting tray. Break up your garlic bulb and throw it in with skins on. Fear not, roasting whole takes the edge of that zingy garlic flavour. Season with salt & pepper then drizzle all over with the rapeseed oil. The lemon really compliments caramel flavours of the roasted veg and livens up the whole recipe.
roasting tray and veg
Roast for an hour turning veg occasionally until edges start to crisp and go brown. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 15 minutes or so.
roasted veg
Discard lemon pieces and remove the garlic cloves to peel their skins off before placing into your soup pan with the rest of your veg.
discarded lemon and garlic
Make 2/3 litres of stock and pour over the veg before blending thoroughly in a large pan. If your artichokes are too big to blitz with stick blender you might need to whizz them separately in a food processor! Re-heat and serve.
Roasted Jerusalem artichoke and Cauliflower soup
Enjoy!
My post for Amy’s blog about salad grown in a Pallet Planter can be found here.