I learned a new word this weekend: Hyggeligt.
Hyggeligt is a Danish word that lacks much of an English definition, but we all know the feeling. Google Translate attempts to sum the concept up with the word "cozy." Having not been to Denmark, I really can’t speak for (or against) that definition but I'm told it's just not that simple. There must be candlelight. There must be people you love. If it's cold and dark, you do not feel hyggeligt. Watching a scary movie or visiting a haunted corn maze is pretty much the opposite of this feeling. Thanksgiving on the other hand, now that is hyggeligt (Hello best eating holiday if the year! Only 17 days from now!).
You know that feeling you get when you think of sitting down to a table adorned with a Turkey, glasses of wine, and a candle or too? With sweet potato casserole, green beans, and your favorite people in the world? I imagine that is hyggeligt. (And if you're thinking right now, Oh Jeez, I am NOT looking forward to cleaning the house for our guests and I really hope Crazy Aunt Lou doesn't come or talk about her dead cats-- no, that is not hyggeligt).
I'll give the Google definition some credit: you are cozy, but it's an inside-out sort of cozy. You're holiday sweater may be warm and fuzzy but it is not really a part of your hyggeligt feelings. On Thanksgiving Day, you're warm and fuzzy because of where you are and who you're with and how that makes you feel.
I'm just going to lay this out here: I think it also has something to do with what you eat (Maybe this just speaks to me thinking with my tongue... what's new?). It's eating Grandma's gravy (cooked with love) or using the family pie recipe (passed from one baker to the next). Even if it's a new recipe, it's food that makes you feel cozy (for lack of a better English word) with every bite.
This recipe, for Citrus & Thyme Glazed Root Vegetables, though certainly not a tradition for many people, is also hyggelit. It may not have been on your Thanksgiving menu ever before, but it communicates a feeling of warmth anyways. The familiar smell of roasted garlic. The sweetness of carrots and beets enhanced by grapefruit. Fresh herbs that really drive that rustic-recipe feeling home.
Root veggies are perfect in winter because they “fit” with the season … and you still get to taste the rainbow!
The veggies are cooked stove-top, so they’re done in about 20-30 minutes. The colors are so pretty! The golden tones of the roots contrast brightly with the fresh herbs. Red beets can be used in this recipe, but a word of caution: they will turn the entire dish red, instead of the yellow/orange array you see here. It wont change the flavor much (I find red beet are a bit “beetier” than golden ones, but that’s it), so if all you can find are red, don’t sweat it.
Serves: 2-4 | Active Time: 30 minutes
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine diced veggies, garlic, 1 teaspoon olive oil, grapefruit zest & juice, honey, and thyme, and stir to coat all veggies.
- Place a 10-inch skillet with remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, spoon veggies into skillet (reserve any leftover sauce/juice in the mixing bowl, you will add it in step 4).
- Turn heat down to medium-low and cook vegetables slowly, stirring only every few minutes.
- After about 10 minutes, when veggies just begin to turn browned on the edges, add the reserved sauce to the pan, and stir. Continue to cook mixture slowly, stirring every few minutes, for ten more minutes. Veggies should be browned on edges and softened all the way through. Sauce should thicken into a glaze on the veggies.
- Remove from heat, and season with salt to taste. Garnish with thyme and parsley as desired. Serve hot as a side dish or a breakfast hash.