Sometimes we desire something a bit more upscale than plain mashed potatoes (which I dearly love). So when I ran across this Parsnip Purée recipe from Ina Garten, I knew instantly that we had to make this side dish. And it is about as easy as a side dish gets, seriously (just take a look at the abbreviated ingredients list).
Parsnips are really delicious and so under-appreciated. The versatile veggie is the essence of parsnip-ness with just a little butter that generates that sigh of pure satisfaction. A sensational, silky-smooth, slightly assertive side that you’ll be pairing with any number of main dishes. The first time out of the gate, it accompanied a seared sirloin steak, but we are imaging all of the other possibilities such as roast chicken, pork loin, salmon, leg of lamb…
Place 1½ pounds parsnips, scrubbed, sliced ¾” thick, in a medium pot, add 1 tablespoon kosher salt, and add enough water to cover the parsnips. Cover the pot, bring to a boil, then uncover, lower the heat, and simmer for 15–20 minutes, until the parsnips are very soft when tested with a small knife. Don’t drain the pot!
With a slotted spoon or small strainer, transfer the parsnips to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse to chop the parsnips. Pour the cooking liquid into a glass measuring cup and pour ½ cup down the feed tube. Purée the parsnips, adding more cooking liquid (about 1 cup total) through the feed tube until the parsnips are creamy and almost smooth but still have some texture.
Add 2 tablespoonsunsalted butter, diced, and ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and purée until combined. Taste for seasonings, sprinkle with fresh chives and serve hot.
Root vegetables often get a bad rap, so says Cook’s Country. I agree, they can be hard and fibrous and have often been prepared and presented in unappealing ways. But with a creative glaze and tempered cooking, this Roasted Glazed Parsnips and Carrots with Orange and Thyme recipe breaks out of its place as a humble side dish and gets ready to shine.
Cooking root vegetables in liquid transforms their fibrous textures into silky, tender morsels. Root vegetables do an amazing job of absorbing the flavor of the liquid they are cooked in. Chicken stock and water mixed with ingredients like onions, herbs and vinegar creates just the right addition. Sweeteners such as jellies, jams and syrups help bring out the natural sweetness of the vegetables and help tame any bitter flavors.
Our mistake was cutting the entire recipe in half. For only two of us, two pounds of veggies seemed like a lot, so we made it with a half-pound each of carrots and parsnips. What we shouldn’t have done was decrease all of the other ingredients too because ours ended up being a little too dry, not the silky, tender morsels described.
One other note, in Step 3, we would lengthen the time covered in foil to 25-30 minutes to allow the vegetables to steam in the liquid, then remove the foil and continue roasting for another 20 minutes or so. Anyway, we do plan to make again—but with all of the initial ingredients.
Roasted Glazed Parsnips and Carrots with Orange and Thyme