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Sep 20, 2012 06:43 PM

The Parsnip Challenge

Ok, I get most of my veggies from a community shared agriculture program. I pay in and each week I get a batch of fresh organic veggies and the most delicious eggs with the brightest yolks I've ever seen.

Today I got parsnips. Now... I remember not liking them as a kid but I eat other things I didn't like back then. I got them today but I already peeled and chopped one small one into a small pot of soup (spinach, chard, carrots, red potato, tomato and hot italian sausage... and parsnip). I had a bite of one piece so far... and meh, it's ok, nothing to cheer about. I am kind of indifferent with it.

I did a search on here and found more or less what I'd expect... but I want something DELICIOUS, not meh... is this POSSIBLE? I want that one recipe that puts all parsnips everywhere in a state of sheer envy. There has to be one. I mean, it isn't a terrible veggie... not overpowering or stinky. It's just really lacking personality. I want parsnip pizazz!!

But there is a catch: I have been unemployed lately due to severe illness. I am ok and looking for work again but for now, the budget is well.. ok, maybe budget is really not the right word. The ingredients have to be accessible or relatively easy to find and they can't be super-expensive. If parsnips served with pheasant is the bomb, well tough... I can't make that.

Are you up for it?

Gentlemen/women... start your parsnips!!

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  1. Roast them! Cut into about 1 inch chunks, toss with oil and salt and roast at 350 (stir a couple times on the baking sheet) until they are soft through and browned. They get a really nice sweet but not overpoweringly sweet taste. I roasted like 2 lbs and went through them in 2 days, they were so good.

    7 Replies
    1. re: DrMag

      Second the roasting rec. they're tasty alone or mixed with carrots.

      1. re: DrMag

        me, three -- LOVE roasted turnips.

        1. re: sunshine842

          I like to roast them with carrots, brussel sprouts and cauliflower/ Sometimes I add onions if I have some pearals. Olive oil and salt.

          1. re: katz66

            Cippolinis, if you have them, too.

            and OMG two weeks later just realized I wrote "turnips" instead of "parsnips"


            1. re: sunshine842

              Don't worry about it. I like both mashed.

        2. re: DrMag

          + 2 or is it 3... especially with the carrots. mmm :)

          1. re: jujuthomas

            there are many times that my husband and I end up ignoring the chicken or roast because we're wolfing the roasted veggies.

            If I have a fair amount of miscellaeous "stuff" laying around, I might add any combination of parsnips, potatoes, carrots, leeks, a few cloves of garlic, cubed celeriac...any winter root vegetables. Toss in olive oil with some salt and pepper., then put under the rack holding the roast, so the veggies get basted with the juices in the oven.

            Incredibly simple and basic, but so tasty and satisfying (and actually a really safe standby for guests!)

        3. I have the method for you. This is seriously delicious.

          Preheat your oven to 400 F. Peel the parsnips, and cut them into roughly baby-carrot-sized hunks. Toss them with chicken fat and salt and pepper. Spread them out on a baking sheet, so that each parsnip has a little space around it. Roast for about 20 minutes, or until the edges are browning, possibly black in a couple places. These are obviously best when freshly cooked and slightly crisp, but they're so good I've been known to eat cold leftovers the next day, and to wish there were more. They do shrink quite a lot, so make a little more than you think you'll want.

          This concentrates and caramelized the sugars, and who would not love salt, fat, and sugar? Vary the kind and amount of fat depending on whether you're feeling more indulgent or more virtuous. I'm afraid I never measure, but I just use enough fat to give each piece a little sheen. No big puddle of fat in the bottom of the bowl necessary.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Tartinet

            I love my parsnips roasted in sticks. My husband treats them like fries, dipping in ketch or spicy mayo.

            Also, parsnips are great in chicken matzah ball soup. We like the parsnips, but you can leave them in large chunks and remove before eating. Even if you remove them, there's a great flavor to the soup.

            1. re: Tartinet

              My friend did something similar, except that I think he par cooked the parsnips first like he does his roasted potatoes (I think of this as an English thing?). So the effect in the end is almost like deep fried. YUM.

            2. I also agree with roasting them, they are very delicate in flavour when done this way. I put mine in a parchment paper envelope and add some olive oil and coarse salt. I cook alongside a roast. As well, I have seen them used grated with carrots in a carrot, raisin salad.

              1. They make excellent chips. You can slice them into rings, or longwise into strips. If you don't care to deep fry you could try brushing with oil and baking them at around 425F on a rack over a baking sheet (I haven't actually done that, but it works with potatoes, so it should with parsnips as well).

                1. I think these are purportedly better after a freeze, so if you haven't converted this fall, please do give them a try after frost.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: sr44

                    Yes, spring-dug parsnips are sweeter. Parsnips CAN be very sharp and harsh, in which case they need to be roasted or sauteed to caramelization. My theory - and that's all it is - is that since carrots with cracks tend to be woody and bitter, parsnips may follow the same path. I look for thinner ones without cracks. So far so good, but I don't buy them often. One of the best restaurant sides I ever had was in late spring - mashed parsnips that clearly contained a load of butter.

                    1. re: greygarious

                      Iiiinteresting. I was wondering how anyone could find them so disagreeable. I bought them once and found them just shockingly delicious- buttery, sweet, kind of like a carrot, only much better. I was fishing around in the soup to find them all. That may explain the difference between my impression and the OP's.