A couple of weeks ago, I ate dinner at a local restaurant, and it included a portion of parsnip pureé as an accompaniment to the short ribs I ordered. Wow, what a unexpected surprise when I scooped the first forkful into my mouth! Why hadn't I ever tried parsnips before? They taste so sweet you'd think sugar had been added.
I quickly rushed off to buy some parsnips to cook at home, and have made parsnips pureé a couple of times since then. I didn't make short ribs, but the pureé sure added a lot of pizzazz to the meat loaf that night.
Like carrots, parsnips are a root vegetable, and they're high in vitamins and minerals, especially potassium. Parsnips are also high in antioxidants and a great source of dietary fiber. But the best part is the sweetness. Before the advent of sugarcane and beets to Europe, they were used as a sweetener, and the Romans even believed parsnips to be an aphrodisiac. Now do I have your attention?
This recipe is easy to make ahead of time, and reheats well in the microwave too. First peel the parsnips, slice them and cook them with the liquid (I used a mix of skim milk and heavy cream since that's what I had. But you could use half and half, or just milk.) They don't take long to soften.
After they're cooked, remove the bay leaf, drain the parsnips and place in a food processor with some of the liquid. Process until smooth, adding more of the liquid to the food processor (I used it all) if necessary.
Sprinkle with parsley.
It makes a great accompaniment to meats, or as a base for fish.
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Adapted from a Tyler Florence recipe
3 large parsnips
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
(or 1 cup half and half)
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 bay leaf
4 Tablespoons butter
salt, pepper to taste
Peel the parsnips and place them in a pan with the milk, cream, garlic and bay leaf. Let everything come to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Cook until the parsnips are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain the parsnips (but keep the liquid) and place the parsnips in a food process, with some of the liquid. Add the butter, salt and pepper, and process until smooth, adding more of the liquid if necessary to think out the pureé.