One of the moments I most look forward to all year long is coming home from Christmas Eve service with my family, building a fire in the fireplace, turning on Perry Como’s Christmas album, and sipping on a sizeable mug of gløgg. Still glowing from belting out all my favorite Christmas carols (I can’t help it, when it comes to carols, I have to sing at the top of my lungs), the gløgg elevates the moment to the warmest, fuzziest, softly glowing-est feeling of the year.
Gløgg, the Scandinavian version of mulled wine, often begins making an appearance in Scandinavian households at the beginning of December. In Sweden, it is especially popular to host glögg (that’s the Swedish spelling) parties during early advent. The sweet, fragrantly spiced warm wine is the perfect antidote to cold dark days. Many families have their own gløgg recipes. Some, like mine always has, buy premade gløgg concentrate from the grocery store – just add wine and warm. Though my family goes the pre-made route with gløgg, many of my good friends are hard core do-it-yourself-ers when it comes to gløgg, and I have learned from them. Our friend Peter Peterson makes liter upon liter of gløgg mix every December, funnels it into growlers, decorates these with his own, signature Dala horse label and distributes them to friends and family. My friend Megan and I have traditionally hosted a gløgg party for all of our friends with an ever-evolving pot of gløgg. We start with a base recipe, but as friends bring their own ingredients to throw in as they arrive, so every time you go back for another cup-ful you get something new, but still delicious and warming.
Those gløgg parties at Megan’s apartment are something I miss terribly. So, this year I decided to bring a little of that holiday spirit to our neighborhood. I commandeered the house of one of my really good friends here, and threw a little gløgg (and punch too!) soaked party. I’m going to post menus and recipes for the whole party over on our distillery website in a couple of days, and I’ll share that here when I do, but first THESE ROOT VEGETABLES. Because they are mixed root vegetables, roasted until creamy within and almost charred without, then tossed with an herb sauce with roasted garlic and parsley, and piled on top of a swoosh of creme fraiche. And it turns out they are one of the best ways of eating vegetables, possibly of all time. I was wowed by my own vegetable prowess, and though there was a whole table food of wonderful food and drink, these veggies were what everyone was talking about.
- about 3.5 lbs mixed root vegetables (I used sweet potato, parsnips, carrots, rutabaga, turnip, and cauliflower - which is not a root vegetable, but it works), peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
- 3 or 4 large cloves of garlic, skin on
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 bunch flat leaf (Italian) parsley
- 1 tsp. white wine vinegar
- ¼-1/2 cup olive oil
- ¾ cup creme fraiche
- Heat your oven to 425F. Toss the cubed vegetables and the garlic cloves with ¼ cup olive oil and a good sprinkling of salt. Spread on a large rimmed baking sheet and roast in the oven, stirring occasionally, until extremely tender and browned on the outside, about 45-50 minutes. Remove from the oven.
- Remove the roasted garlic cloves and take off their peels. Combine the roasted garlic, parsley, white wine vinegar, and ¼ cup olive oil plus a pinch of salt in a food processor. Process until thoroughly chopped together (but stop before it becomes a paste) adding more olive oil if it needs to be more sauce-y. Taste and adjust the vinegar and salt to taste.
- Toss the roasted vegetables with as much of the parsley pistou as you'd like.
- To serve, spread the creme fraiche in a layer on a serving dish, then layer the root vegetables over this. Serve warm or at room temperature.