Parsnip Recipes

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Like most root vegetables, parsnips are well-suited for roasting. A very thin drizzle of honey highlights the sweetness when roasted in butter. They combine well with carrots, squash, onions, apples and pears. You can also mash them like potatoes, or oven fry slices or sticks. They make good additions to meat stews and pot roasts – beef, pork, lamb and venison – although I don’t like them as well with chicken.

Parsnip Potato Gratin

  • 4 large potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 medium onions, thinly sliced3 large parsnips, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese, divided
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream

Layer the potatoes, onions, parsnips and 3/4 cup cheese in a greased 13×9-in. baking dish; set aside. In a small saucepan, combine the flour, salt, pepper; gradually whisk in cream. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat; pour over vegetables. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover and bake at 375° for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 20-25 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender and top is golden brown.

Parsnip Purée

  • 1 pound parsnips, well-scrubbed and thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt

Bring parsnips, garlic, cream, milk,and butter to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until parsnips are very soft, 10–15 minutes. Uncover and cook until liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes; season with salt. Purée in a blender until smooth. Purée can be made 1 day ahead. Let cool; cover and chill. Reheat over medium-low, stirring often.

Parsnip Cake

This old Victorian recipe from William Woys Weaver is a good choice if you’re OK with experimenting. Note that it only takes a teacup of parsnips; it’s really more about the flour and yeast.

Boil your parsnips till perfectly soft; pass them through a colander. To one tea-cupful of mashed parsnip add one quart of warm milk, with a quarter of a pound of butter dissolved in it, a little salt and one gill (four ounces) of yeast, with flour enough to make a thick batter. Set it away to rise, which will require several hours, when light stir in as much flour as will make a dough, knead it well and let it rise again. Make it out in cakes about a quarter or half an inch thick, butter your tins or pans, put them on and set them to rise. As soon as they are light bake them in a very hot oven. When done wash over the tops with a little water, and send them to the table hot.

Parsnip Cake Recipe II

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 2 t. cinnamon
  • 2 t. ginger
  • 1/4 t. nutmeg
  • 4 eggs1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 2 cups squash or pumpkin (canned or cooked & pureed)
  • 4 cups shredded parsnips

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Blend the squash/pumpkin, eggs, sugars, oil, and vanilla together in a mixing bowl. Mix in the dry ingredients until blended. Fold in the parsnips. Pour batter into two greased 9”x9” pans and bake for 35 minutes at 350F or until an inserted toothpick is dry.

Irish Parsnip Soup

  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 lb parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 1 lb apples, peeled and chopped
  • 1 onions, chopped
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seeds
  • 4 c chicken or vegetable stock
  • ½ c heavy cream, room temperature
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)

In a medium soup pot, melt the butter. Add the parsnips, apples, and onions. Sauté over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, until the vegetables have softened slightly. Add the curry powder, cumin and coriander. Mix well and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the spices are fragrant. Add the stock and bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the parsnips are very soft. Remove the soup from the heat and puree it with an immersion blender, or by transferring the mixture to the bowl of your stand blender. Add the cream to the pureed soup. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper, as needed. Return the soup to a low heat and warm the soup gently, without boiling, until heated through.

Squash and Parsnip Soup

  • 4 pounds honeynut or butternut squash, halved lengthwise (from 2 to 3 honeynuts or 1 large butternut)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for frying and drizzling
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound parsnips (4 to 5 medium), peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 2 pounds leeks (3 medium), white and light-green parts only, halved lengthwise and thoroughly washed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves, plus whole leaves for frying
  • 2 Granny Smith apples (1 pound), halved and cored
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • Toasted pepitas, toasted sesame seeds and poppy seeds, for serving

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Scoop seeds and pulp from squash; discard. (Or lightly coat seeds in oil, season with salt, and roast on a rimmed baking sheet until crisp and darkened slightly, about 20 minutes; let cool and reserve for garnish.) On a rimmed baking sheet, rub squash halves with 1 tablespoon oil and season with salt; turn cut-sides down. On another rimmed baking sheet, toss parsnips and leeks with remaining 1 tablespoon oil, season with salt, and sprinkle evenly with thyme and chopped sage; spread in a single layer. Roast 30 minutes. Add apples to sheet with squash, cut-sides up. Continue roasting until vegetables turn golden brown in places and are easily pierced with the tip of a knife, 15 to 20 minutes more. When cool enough to handle, scoop flesh from squash; transfer half to a blender with half of other vegetables and apples, 2 cups broth, and 1 cup water. Puree until smooth, adding more water as needed if too thick to self-level. Pour through a sieve into a pot. Repeat process with remaining vegetables, apples, broth, and 1 more cup water.Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, swirling occasionally, until fragrant and golden brown and dark-brown sediment particles form in bottom of pan, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir brown butter into soup; season with salt and pepper. Rewarm soup over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally and adding more water as necessary until it reaches desired consistency.Wipe pan clean. Heat 1/4 inch of oil over medium-high. When it shimmers, add a handful of sage leaves; cook, stirring a few times, until darkened slightly, 20 to 30 seconds. Transfer to paper towels, season with salt, and let stand until cool and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Fry more sage as desired. Serve soup topped with crisped sage, pepitas, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and a drizzle of oil.

Roasted Parsnips

  • 1/4 cup hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 2 pounds parsnips, peeled, halved crosswise, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick sticks
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Pulse pumpkin seeds in a food processor until finely ground. Toss parsnips with oil and ground seeds in a large bowl until evenly coated; season with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Arrange in a single layer on 2 rimmed baking sheets. Bake, rotating sheets and tossing parsnips halfway through, until golden brown and crisp, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve immediately.

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Parsnips

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Growing parsnips is a much less common activity than growing something like tomatoes or corn. Native to Eurasia, parsnips have been a human food source for thousands of years. They were valuable enough that the Roman emperor Tiberius accepted them as tribute from the German tribes in the 1st century A.D. Parsnips, like beets, are loaded with plant sugars, and Europeans used them for sweetening before sugar beets became more widely available. French and British colonists brought them to America. Most varieties look like oversized, cream-colored carrots, although there are also round versions. The leaves can irritate the skin and cause discoloration that persists for months; wear long sleeves and gloves to weed around or harvest parsnips.

Growing Parsnips

Biennial, the plant forms seedheads like a carrot and can become invasive in the right conditions. Most gardeners grow them as annuals, planting in spring and starting to harvest in fall. They tolerate frost very well and become sweeter if stored in the ground through the winter. The seeds don’t store well and germination of older seed is very poor, which is another good reason to treat them as annuals. Just leave a few in the ground and harvest the seeds the next spring. It’s a good idea to stake the seed stalks, as they are tall and heavy. If you have to, you can try storing well-wrapped seeds in the freezer, but plant very thickly to offset the low germination rates. Like their carrot relatives, parsnips are slow to germinate – expect at least two or three weeks before seedlings appear. Make sure to keep them moist during germination. You want fertile soils for growing parsnips but excess nitrogen makes for top growth instead of root growth. Grow parsnips in loose soil so the roots can have 12 to 15 inches of room. It’s worth the effort to dig trenches and sift the soil to remove rocks, as the roots will fork or become misshapen in rocky soil. Sow them about ½ inch deep, two or three seeds to the inch, and then thin to four to six inches apart by clipping the tops rather than pulling out seedlings. Once the roots start to bulk up, hill them like potatoes to keep them from turning green. If given more space (say a foot or more), parsnip roots will grow very large, but I think the smaller ones taste better. Either harvest before the ground freezes or mulch them heavily to store through the winter. You can also store in a root cellar, packed in damp sand, sawdust or leaves.

Parsnip Nutrients

The parsnip is loaded with minerals such as calcium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, zinc and especially potassium. High in fiber, they also contain a number of vitamins, especially folate, which is so important in preventing several kinds of birth defects. All of these goodies are most heavily concentrated just under the skin, so wash them but don’t peel.

Parsnip Varieties

Sorting out the history and development of heirloom parsnip varieties is complicated because the same term was used for both carrots and parsnips way back when. In addition, the original carrots were not orange but yellow-beige. It was not until 1393 that an herbal first made a clear distinction between the two vegetables. In addition, parsnips are biennial plants and insect-pollinated, so keeping distinct varieties going took a lot more effort than with something like self-pollinating annual beans or tomatoes. Three distinct types were in cultivation by the middle of the nineteenth century. The coquaine was a long, smooth parsnip grown primarily in France, although it was developed in Holland. The noisette Lisbonaise is of French origin, and is a short, rounded version that is reminiscent of a turnip. William Woys Weaver mentions another French variety called the Siam parsnip, which was yellow-rooted – I can’t find any other information on it.

  • All-American – this long tapered variety is high in sugar and stores well. Creamy white and fine-textured, it is a high yielding variety.
  • Harris Model – another long slim version, it has no side roots.
  • Hollow Crown – developed in the early 1800s. This one is generally considered the best all-around variety.
  • Kral Russian – this has small, round beet-shaped roots, which makes it a good choice for shallow soils.
  • Guernsey Half Long – Introduced prior to 1850 (Weaver says 1826), this one is considered to have very good flavor. It is not as long as other varieties, so can be grown in more shallow soils.
  • The Student – created in England by crossing a wild parsnip with a garden variety. Professor Buckman of the Royal Agriculture College at Cirencester, England, gets the credit for this one. He gathered wild seed from the Cotswolds in 1847 and made selections of resulting crops through 1859, when The Student was released commercially. It is a consistent producer and stores well. It’s also well-suited for heavy soils.
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Garlic and Leek Recipes

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Garlic/Rosemary Meat Rub

  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • ⅓ cup olive oil

Mix ingredients. Rub into meat – steak, pork chops, lamb. Refrigerate about eight hours, then broil, grill or roast.

Garlic Bread Topping

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground paprika

Use a mortar and pestle to turn the Italian seasoning into a fine powder. Mix all ingredients well. Spread thickly on sliced bread and broil until golden. If you are really a garlic fan, you can sprinkle very finely chopped garlic over the top before you put the bread in the oven.

Steaks with Garlic

  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pinch salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 12-ounce New York strip steaks
  • 12 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 cup olive oil for frying
  • 1 pinch salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 ½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Whisk minced garlic, olive oil, salt, and black pepper in a bowl, then pour into a resealable plastic bag. Add the steaks, coat with the marinade, squeeze out excess air, and seal the bag. Marinate in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight. Combine 12 garlic cloves and 1 cup olive oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is golden and tender, about 30 minutes. Set aside. Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat, and lightly oil the grate. Remove steaks from bag, wiping off excess marinade with paper towels. Generously season steaks with salt and black pepper. Cook the steaks on the prepared grill until they start to firm and are reddish-pink and juicy in the center, about 5 minutes per side. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 130°F. Remove steaks to a plate and let rest for 5 minutes. Drizzle balsamic vinegar over steaks, then spoon a few cloves of oil-roasted garlic on top.

Garlic Soup

  • ½ cup crushed garlic
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 6 cups home made chicken broth
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh tomato
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot over medium heat, cook garlic very slowly in butter until brown. Pour in broth and simmer a minimum of 20 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, then slowly drizzle in beaten eggs, stirring gently so the eggs form long silky strands.

Chicken With 60 Cloves of Garlic (adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe)

  • 1 large whole chicken (about 7 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 garlic bulb, halved horizontally
  • 60 garlic cloves (do not peel)

Preheat oven to 425°F. Let chicken stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Remove giblets and excess fat from cavity. Pat chicken dry. Brush outside with melted butter and season with salt and pepper. Place garlic bulb in cavity. Transfer chicken to a roasting pan. Tuck wing tips under; tie legs with kitchen twine. Roast chicken, basting occasionally with pan juices, 20 minutes. Remove from oven, and arrange garlic cloves around chicken. Continue roasting until skin is deep golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of the thigh (avoiding bone) registers 165°F, about 1 hour. Transfer chicken and garlic cloves to a platter. Let stand 15 minutes, then remove garlic bulb from cavity, and discard. Carve chicken, and serve.

Garlic Roasted Prime Rib

  • 1 (10 pound) prime rib roast
  • 10 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme

Place the roast in a roasting pan with the fatty side up. In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme. Spread the mixture over the fatty layer of the roast, and let the roast sit out until it is at room temperature, no longer than one hour. Preheat the oven to 500°F. Bake the roast for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, then reduce the temperature to 325°F, and continue roasting for an additional 60 to 75 minutes. The internal temperature of the roast should be at 135°F for medium rare. Allow the roast to rest for 10 or 15 minutes before carving so the meat can retain its juices.

Vichyssoise

  • 3 cups peeled, sliced potatoes
  • 3 cups sliced white of leek
  • 1-1/2 quarts chicken stock or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 to 1 cup whipping cream
  • Salt and white pepper, to taste
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chives, minced

Simmer vegetables and broth in a partially covered pot for about 40 to 50 minutes. Once the vegetables are tender, you can puree the soup using an immersion blender, or carefully transfer the soup to a high-powered pitcher blender and puree until smooth. Season with salt and white pepper and stir in the heavy cream. Serve warm or cold.

Leek and Potato Gratin

  • 9 medium leeks (about 3 lb; white and pale green parts only)
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 lb russet (baking) potatoes
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tsp thyme leaves

Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Generously butter a 3-qt shallow baking dish. Cut a round of parchment paper to fit just inside a 12-inch heavy skillet, then set parchment aside. Halve leeks lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1½-inch pieces (you should have about 8 cups). Wash leeks. Cook leeks in butter with ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper, covered with parchment round, in skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Meanwhile, peel potatoes and slice crosswise 1/16-inch thick with slicer. Transfer to a large heavy pot with cream, milk, thyme, 1 tsp salt, and ½ tsp pepper and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally (liquid will thicken). Stir in leeks, then transfer to baking dish. Bake, uncovered, until potatoes are tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Gratin can be baked 2 days ahead and chilled. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes, then reheat, covered, in a 350°F oven until hot, about 30 minutes.

Grilled Leeks

  • 4 medium leeks (about 2½ lb.), white and pale green parts only, tough outer layers removed (root ends left intact)
  • 2 Tbsp. sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Prepare a grill for high heat. Rinse off any sand and dirt from leeks and pat dry. Arrange directly on grate (no need to oil) and grill, turning every few minutes with tongs, until outsides are completely blackened (leeks should start to soften and may begin to release some juices), 12–16 minutes.Transfer leeks to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes (the interiors will continue to steam and get even softer as they cool). While the leeks are resting, whisk vinegar and honey in a small bowl until honey dissolves. Set dressing aside.Cut leeks on a diagonal into 1½”–2″ pieces. Transfer to a medium bowl and toss with 2 Tbsp. oil; season with salt.Transfer leeks to a platter and spoon reserved dressing over. Drizzle with more oil and season with pepper.

Fish Chowder with Leeks

  • 3 leeks, white and pale green parts only, tough outer layer removed
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb. baby creamer (Yukon Gold) potatoes, halved (quartered if larger than 1 1/2″ in diameter)
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 1 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more
  • 1 cup pure clam juice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 lb. skinless halibut or cod fillet, cut into 2×1″ pieces
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 (10-oz.) bag frozen sweet peas, thawed
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • Pea shoots (tendrils) or sprouts, basil leaves, finely grated lemon zest, and flaky sea salt (for serving)

Cut leeks into 1/4″ rounds. Rinse, tossing with hands so that leeks separate into individual rings, and drain thoroughly. Transfer to a medium pot. Add oil and toss to coat. Cover pot and cook over medium heat until leeks begin to soften, 5–6 minutes. Add potatoes, 1 tsp. kosher salt, and 1 1/2 tsp. pepper and stir to combine. Add clam juice, bay leaves, and 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, until potatoes are fork-tender, 10–12 minutes.Season halibut with remaining 1 tsp. kosher salt. Add to pot along with cream and peas and stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until halibut is opaque, 3–4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.Divide chowder among bowls. Top with pea shoots, basil, and lemon zest. Season with sea salt and a generous amount of pepper.1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Potato Leek Frittata

  • 1 leek (white and light-green parts only), halved lengthwise, rinsed well, and thinly sliced (1 cup)
  • 2 cups cooked, cubed potato
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 8 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a 10-inch ovenproof nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add leek and potato, season with salt and pepper, and cook until leek is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add eggs and ricotta, season with salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Cook, undisturbed, until edges are set, about 2 minutes. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until top of frittata is just set, 10 to 13 minutes. Invert or slide frittata onto a plate and cut into 6 wedges. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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