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Time to root for fall’s versatile vegetables

Grant Slauterbeck chef Glenview House displays his Beef Tenderlowith Root Vegetable Hash for At Chef's Table column. Writing about learning

Grant Slauterbeck, chef at the Glenview House, displays his Beef Tenderloin with Root Vegetable Hash for the At the Chef's Table column. Writing about learning to love and cook with root vegetables, he is photographed on Thursday, November 15, 2012. | Richard A. Chapman~Sun-Times

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Updated: November 27, 2012 11:46AM

Fall has always been my favorite time of year, the season I look forward to all summer long. So many things draw me to autumn: football, the brisk air, the streets and sidewalks lined with vibrantly colored leaves.

One of the best parts is the fresh, exquisite produce of the Midwest. I was born and raised in southeastern Michigan and I’ve always been a hearty eater. To me, there is no heartier season than fall with its abundance of root vegetables and stews.

My mother was no Gordon Ramsay in the kitchen, but whenever she would make her “boiled dinner” of sausage, ham or chicken thrown in a large pot with whatever fall vegetables she had, I knew I was in for a treat.

I was always willing to try all of her majestic — and sometimes, not so majestic — meals that incorporated root vegetables, apples and pumpkins, their aromas wafting from her Crock-Pot. How else was I going to eat?

Although I’d like to say I was that overzealous child-chef tugging away at her apron as she cooked, that wasn’t exactly the case. I didn’t learn to enjoy a turnip overnight — or a parsnip or rutabaga, for that matter.

But as my culinary journey commenced and my mind expanded, I learned that root vegetables have vast amounts of flavors and textures ready to be extracted. It all depends on the technique you use. I still enjoy a simple, smooth celeriac puree laden with butter and fresh thyme as much as any other accompaniment.

For the recipe here, I usually marinate and pan-sear venison loin, but I have substituted more approachable beef tenderloin as a way to get this wonderful hash to your table.

Grant Slauterbeck is
the chef of Glenview House,
1843 Glenview Rd., Glenview.

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