Sunday, January 29, 2012

"The Best Vegetable that Never Gets Eaten."

That is what Mark Bittman says about the parsnip in his "How to Cook Everything". I have not eaten parsnips since I left New England, and that was thirty years ago. I believe they were roasted, but who fed them to me or under what circumstances will remain one of memory's mysteries.

I bought three of them yesterday, thinking they might be useful in the Experimental Kitchen. Parsnip Pie? Parsnip Soup? What did all my cookbooks recommend? What did Elizabeth David say?

Very little, other than that they were useful in small amounts in a pot au feu. Some cookbooks were oblivious, as though parsnips were invisible or non-existent. Some remarked that parsnips were popular during the Renaissance, but had been superseded in modern times by the mighty potato. Mark Bittman said that any recipe with carrots could substitute parsnips.

And so I added parsnips to my favorite carrot recipe, and cooked them right in the same pan with the carrots. I peeled them and cut them up( See the photo), and put them in a large saute pan. I added 15 ounces of chicken broth, 3/4 stick of butter, some Herbs de Provence, some salt and pepper. I turned up the heat, let the broth boil for a minute or two, the turned it to medium low. I put a lid on the pan. But slightly askew, for the plan was to steam the liquid out and reduce it as the vegetables softened and sweetened. An hour sufficed for that, and what was left was a noble side dish not seen on just anyone's table. An accompaniment to the Shepherd's meatloaf I cooked yesterday-

1 comment:

Out on the prairie said...

Roasted sounds good to me,I have never tried it.
I planted a 100 ft row one year, never having grown them before.It was hard to weed but friends said wait for a few frosts to get them sweet. I sold the property the 2nd frost, and during a 11 inch snowstorm. I told the new buyer all about the parsnips, but they had never tried them so they had a lot and left them in.I went back the following year and saw 5 ft plants. I make a boiled/baked dinner with them and really like the taste,but don't mix them with other roots.If you keep your soil healthy,roots are the best nutrionally for minerals.