Thursday, December 2, 2010
A parsnip is a root vegetable related to the carrot. It plays a big part in classic French cuisine, and is very, very versatile and sweet. In some instances it is part of what is called a "white mirepoix" a mirepoix you would use if you were making a stock that you needed to be as neutrally colored as possible.Usually replacing carrots but keeping the onion and celery ratio. I like them in stocks, but think they are great for stews. They have a high starch content that will help to thicken your liquid during the cooking process, and will go a really long way with flavor.
They look a lot like carrots with varying color but usually a white to tan color. They need to be washed peeled and I always core them as well, as the core can be bitter and stringy, even when cooked. They are great blanched and then sauteed as a vegetable for dinner. This time of year they should be readily available and relatively inexpensive at your local grocer. My favorite preparation is a puree of parsnip, or parsnips that have been boiled and added to potatoes and then whipped or mashed. The flavor will change just enough that it will seem new but still familiar, and is a nice way to spice up a normal bowl of mashed potatoes.