Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cooking School 101: Something New

While mesmerized by Food Network this past weekend, I snapped to when I heard this one word: parsnip. What is it with this vegetable? Everywhere I turn, chefs are cooking parsnips. In stews, in roasts, mashed, steamed. Everywhere. Sunday, I'd had enough and decided to try these little buggers to see what all the fuss is about. What follows is my photo diary with recipe:

This, my friends, is a parsnip. A cousin to the carrot, it has a softer feel and a more earthy aroma. It took two stores for me to find these. They're supposed to be in season, but have fallen out of favor with eaters, so it was a hunt. I couldn't believe they didn't have them at Central Market! Thank you to the fine folks at Kroger for coming through. When purchasing parsnips, look for medium sized ones. The larger ones can be a bit "woody", to quote Good Housekeeping, and you would need to core them.

1. Begin by washing and peeling your parsnips, about 2 lbs. Cut off the ends, and cut them into disks.

2. In a medium sauce pan, heat about 1T of oil and 1T butter over medium high heat. Add your parsnips and stir to coat with the fat, like below. Salt and pepper to taste.

3. Add 1c water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer until soft, about 20 minutes.

4. In a bowl, mix 1 1/2 to 2 sticks of soft unsalted butter with fresh chives, parsley, and chervil. Chervil is another herb I keep hearing about but cannot seem to find in my grocery. I've looked everywhere! Thankfully, my Mom came through and looked it up for me. They are related to parsley, so if you can't find them; you're fine with just the parsley. Salt and pepper to taste.

5. When the parsnips have been cooked, turn off the heat and gently stir in a dollop of the herb butter. To serve, smear most of the butter on the bottom of the serving dish (or your own plate). Top with parsnips and a pat of the butter. Pour some of the cooking liquid over and enjoy!
If you have any of the herbed butter left over, grab some cling wrap and roll it tightly into a log. Throw that bad boy into the freezer or fridge and use again on potatoes or meat.
If you like carrots, these are a great option to mix things up! I can't wait to mash them! I would say, they are best served with red meat. Perhaps that amazing steak you've perfected? Bon Appetite!
Coming up: My favorite cold weather comfort food.


  1. They go well with roasts, too. I toss one or two in with the carrots, potatoes, green beans and turnips.

  2. You could use them with ham, sure. Anywhere you would use carrots or potatoes, parsnips can go to! It's a great way to add a bit of colour or texture.
    PS- mjenks- I can't wait to try them with a roast. I keep forgetting I own a crock pot, but that would be a great idea!

  3. Okay, my friends blogging about food is going to be the DEATH of me :). This looks fabulous and I had no freaking clue what a parsnip was, so thank you much! It looks like squash to me. I love the colors the parsley/chervil brought out as well. Great job lady! I'm officially hungry.