Roasted Parsnips

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Roasting is one of my favorite ways to prepare vegetables because it concentrates the flavor and makes the outside nice and crispy. Getting the texture of roasted parsnips right can be tricky, so I use them most often to make puree. As PutneyFarm pointed out, roasted parsnips with excellent texture can be made by parcooking them first. Steaming is better than (par)boiling, because boiling will dilute the flavor rather than concentrating it. This is less of an issue with steaming, but I thought of a different solution if you have enough time. Since roasted parsnips are great as a side to a stew, you can easily take this approach when you start the parsnips right after the stew is in the simmering stage. My idea is this: make a stock out of the parsnips peels, and parboil the parsnip slices in that stock. This way the parsnip flavor will be concentrated.

Parsnips have a wonderful sweet nutty flavor that pairs well with thyme. You can roast them in ordinary butter or oil, but for something special it is great to use duck fat, goose fat, or beef suet.

Here’s what I did.

Ingredients

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parnips

enough duck fat (or butter or oil or goose fat or beef suet) to coat the parsnip slices

salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

fresh thyme to taste

Preparation

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Start by cutting the ends off the parsnips and peeling them. Reserve the peels and trimmings. Cut the parsnips into 4 mm (1/6 inch) slices.

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Put the parnip peels in a pot or saucepan and add just enough water to cover them. (I also added the thyme stalks for additional flavor.) Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 30 to 60 minutes. Discard the peels and reserve the parsnip stock.

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Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.

Parboil the parsnip slices in the parsnip stock with a bit of salt for about 8 minutes.

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They should be cooked but still have some crunch (otherwise they will fall apart when you roast them).

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Drain the parboiled parsnips (you could reserve the parsnip stock to use in a vegetable stock if you like).

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Combine the parsnip slices with the duck fat and thyme leaves in an oven proof dish.

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Toss to mix, making sure they are coated with the fat on all sides.

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Roast at 180C/350F for 45-60 minutes until golden, flipping the slices halfway.

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Drain the fat in a colander.

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You can remove even more of the fat using kitchen paper. Season with salt and freshly ground white pepper. (Seasoning at the end gives better texture, as my experiment with potatoes showed.) I served the roasted parsnips with the venison stew that I will post tomorrow.

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16 thoughts on “Roasted Parsnips

  1. We always used to have them roasted whole when I was growing up. My father would just throw them into the roaster alongside the meat… a few of the smaller ones would get burnt at the tips, but they were always pretty good. I have had some success by briefly pan-frying them cut in half lengthwise (quarters if really big), and then tossing them with a little butter and a sprinkle of sugar and baking in a moderate oven to finish. I love them but, unfortunately my wife can’t abide them 😦

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  2. I’ve only been preparing parsnips relatively lately, Stefan, and love them roasted or mashed. That’s a great tip about making a parsnip stock in which to lightly poach the parsnips. I can’t wait to give it a try. Thanks!

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