Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Root Vegetable Harvest Recipes for October Saints

October is late harvest time all over the world. The Polish especially have a tradition of emphasizing the and celebrating the harvest season. Late September usually brings frost, so most often only the root crops, like cabbage, turnips, beets and carrots and perhaps some grains are being harvested in October. Old Polish legends talk about harvesting these late root crops and sowing of winter wheat on or just after October 16 which is St. Hedwig’s Day or Sw. Jadwiga in Poland. She is a patroness of Poland and it is said that she sweetens these crops if they are left until that date. 

Sw. Jadwiga, jesli deszcz nie pada
To do kapusty Pan Bog miodunada.

On St. Hedwig's, if it's not raining
God grants honey to the cabbage.

Another mid-October feast is tied into Polish harvest lore. It is also said that by St. Luke's Day (Sw. Lukasz), October 18 all the work in the field should have been completed. They might chant:  "Sw. Lukasz day, co w polu szukasz?" (Translated: "On St. Luke's Day, what are you looking for in the fields?"). And of course there is St. John Paul II's feast on October 22. 

So to celebrate the late harvest season and the root vegetables, to recognize a couple October saint feast days, and give a nod to my Polish heritage, I have a couple hearty recipes to share. 

Roasted Root Vegetables 

1 T olive oil
1 small onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 turnip, peeled and diced
1 yam or sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 parsnip, peeled and diced
1 t dried rosemary
1 t dried thyme
1 pinch salt
1/2 t black pepper
1-2 T balsamic vinegar, optional for drizzling.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a baking sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and toss to combine. Place mixture on a baking sheet and bake approximately 30 minutes. Turn vegetables every 10 minutes until vegetables are tender and slightly browned. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar before serving.
Makes 6 servings.

Polish people make a lot of zupa (soups), and starting with the cold weather and the harvest, soup is a wonderful addition to any meal.  Here is one that combines some of the root vegetables that are common in Polish fare.

Cabbage Kielbasa Soup

1 small head cabbage, shredded
1 small onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 T olive oil
4 cups water
3 T cider vinegar
1 T brown sugar
1 pound Kielbasa sausage, halved, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 carrots, chopped
1 t caraway seeds
1/2 t pepper

In a Dutch oven or large kettle, saute the cabbage, onion and garlic in oil until tender. Add water, vinegar and brown sugar to cabbage mixture.  Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 60-70 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Makes 8-10 servings.
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  1. A friend made some roasted vegetables for us after the birth of our eighth child. They have been a fall favorite in our house since then. I look forward to trying your roasted vegetable recipe tonight. Thank you, Mary.

    1. You'll have to tell me how it turned out. We really liked the onions and how they caramelized in this mix. Very tasty.