Rosemary is an essential and versatile herb in your kitchen.
Rosemary comes from the Mediterranean region and is found in many Italian and French dishes, but we also use it extensively in all kinds of cuisine. Rosemary tends to be used with dishes that include lamb, pork, sausage, chicken and turkey. It is the smell I most associate with Thanksgiving mornings. It also shows up in many of our marinades, rubs and sauces in combination with other herbs. Rosemary also appears in or on breads, pizzas, pasta, rice and potato dishes and even some sweets too. It isn’t typically the star of the dish, but without it you would miss its savory woody flavor that is expected. Some folks like to make tea from it, top a scoop of vanilla ice cream with it or infuse oil with its earthy flavor.
Rosemary has leaves that look a lot like pine needles and are very woody. So when working with fresh rosemary it is easier to meld into your dish by chopping very fine. You can find many fresh herbs in today’s market, so it is readily available for your use. You can also find it fresh at farmers markets and stands as well.
I think of rosemary as a foundation herb since it is used in so many ways. It’s an awesome complement to many other savory herbs like basil, oregano, parsley, sage and thyme.
Rosemary is a love of mine and is found in most garden centers in seed or starts. It is a hearty plant that holds up to heat, sun, and drought — and perfect here in the Pacific Northwest. It is often used in ornamental gardens because of its heartiness and beautiful flowers, but also grows well in any backyard food gardens. To harvest, just head out to the garden and snip a few sprigs to use fresh that day or tie them up to hang dry and grind up later. Or get it at the grocery store dried in the spice section. To get the leaves off of the stem, draw your fingers backwards along the stem and they come right off. You can pop the finely chopped herb into hot oil with some garlic and onion for a great start to an awesome meal.
As summer comes to a close and we head into fall, a fabulous beef stew in the crock pot is likely my next dish to make with rosemary. I will just sear up the roast with that oil, garlic and rosemary, then pop it into the crock pot for about 8 hours. I’d add a few more Italian herbs I mentioned above and lots of fresh basil and let it just simmer away. A few hours before I’m ready to dish up I will add some carrots. Finally about an hour before it’s done, I’d pop in the potatoes. The juices left in the pot are an amazing start to a gravy to put over the top or sop up with a little slice of bread. It is a family favorite and literally everyone loves. Pot roast with rosemary is a perfect fall accoutrement to enjoy by the fire pit with your favorite beverage when our temperatures start to drop.