When the grey clouds of winter roll in and the temperatures drop, I find myself craving roasted vegetables from the grill. Roasting the veggies concentrates their flavors and intensifies their natural sweetness – FIRE roasting veggies on your grill makes them even better. Here are five tips for roasting winter vegetables on your Char-Broil® gas grill.
- Thumbs up – Use your best knife skills and cut the vegetables into even bite-sized pieces to ensure even cooking. Someone once told me to use the first joint of your thumb (tip) as a guide and that stuck with me.
- Dress them, don’t drown them – Lightly dress your veggies with just enough oil to lightly coat them. The oil will help get the cooking process going faster, but you don’t want it dripping off. And instead of dumping your veggies onto the baking tray, lift them out of your mixing container so that the excess oil stays behind. Extra moisture can inhibit browning.
- Heavy duty sheet pan – Your best bet is a quality sheet pan lined with parchment paper. You can use a foil “roasting pan” if you have to but a quarter sheet pan is ideal for most grills because the thicker metal helps with a controlled transfer of heat. The parchment paper seems to work better for me and you don’t lose any of those flavorful brown bits that stick to an unlined pan.
- Take your cues – Normally I’m a huge advocate of grilling by internal temps but veggies don’t play that game. Instead you go by several cues. I cook by color and feel. To get the right color, cook harder, bigger veggies at lower temps (350-400 degrees) and smaller vegetables at higher temps (400-450 degrees) so that they both get that darkened, flavorful exterior and a tender center. When the vegetables shrink slightly and are tender to the tip of a knife, they are ready.
- Go higher instead of indirect – At first, it might seem like you would want to roast vegetables with an indirect set up. Instead, I find it works better to use all of the burners at a lower setting but raise the roasting pans to the higher cooking grate. This gets the pans away from the intense heat of the burners and closer to the reflective heat of the grill lid, which roasts more evenly in my opinion. That raised rack might look a lot smaller but the one on my Char-Broil® Gourmet 3 burner grill will hold two quarter sheet pans.
I hated carrots as a kid but now they are one of my favorite fire roasted vegetables. A little oil, salt, pepper and thyme and you have a great side dish for beef. Switch it up with oil, salt, brown sugar and a hint of cinnamon and allspice to go with jerk chicken. Use a little tarragon and melted butter to pair with roasted chicken.
But it doesn’t have to be relegated to a side dish. Fire roasted carrots can carry their own in the starring role like they do in this rich and spicy soup. The sweetness of the carrot and mild smoky heat of the poblano come together for something special.
Carrots roasted on the grill are so versatile. Use them in this naturally sweet soup with a spicy crema.
- 2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon roasted garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- For the Poblano Crema
- 1 poblano chile
- 1/2 cup Mexican crema
- 1/2 teaspoon lime juice
- 1/4 teaspoon Ancho chile powder
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat the grill to medium high (400-450 degrees).
- Toss the carrot pieces in the oil, salt, and black pepper. Transfer to a heavy duty sheet pan (preferably lined with parchment paper) and arrange in a single layer with the cut sides down.
- Place the pan(s) on the upper grill rack, close the lid and roast until the carrots begin to contract and the bottoms brown, 20-25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the poblano crema. Char the poblano chile over the side burner until all sides are blackened. Place in a bowl, cover with plastic and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Peel the skin off, remove the seeds and dice. Place the chile in a blender with the crema, lime juice, Ancho chile powder and salt. Process into a smooth texture. Keep refrigerated until ready for use.
- Flip the carrots and cook another 10-15 minutes. When lightly charred and knife tender, remove them from the grill.
- Place the carrots, stock, roasted garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon coriander into a blender or food processor and process until the texture is smooth.
- Transfer the soup to a pot and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add salt or pepper if needed.
- Serve with a heavy dollop of the poblano crema.
Every time I trim carrots for roasting, I can’t help but think of the thumb tip….errr tip.
You can buy the roasted garlic but since I was already roasting the carrots, I just threw a fresh head of garlic on one of the pans. Just a quick drizzle of olive oil and let it roast with them. It gives you more than you need but the leftover garlic goes great with anything else you make later in the week. Use it in a compound butter for grilled steaks or smear it on toasted bread.
When roasting chiles over a burner, you can hold the chile in place with long tongs but it is easier to just use a veggie wok. Don’t you just love the smell of roasting chiles?
Peeling off the chile’s skin doesn’t have to be perfect, I like a little bit of the charred skin to get into the crema.
The Char-Broil® Gourmet top rack holds two quarter sheet pans. Think of all of the times that you need extra space in the oven. You have that extra space outside on your grill so take advantage of it.
The parchment paper also makes clean up easier and I think you get much better browning on it.
I don’t think the grill side burner gets enough love, do you?
You can roast carrots like this for so many things. Use a balsamic vinegar and brown sugar glaze (the sugar can burn so be vigilant!) to go with beef. Use roasted carrots in your normal stew recipes; it’s an instant upgrade. Try a roasted carrot and beet salad with toasted pecans and goat cheese. Use roasted carrots in your boring ol’ chicken noodle soup recipe.