I simply love cooking in the autumn so I will continue with the autumnal theme. This is a season when we can still enjoy fresh ingredients form the late harvest. At the same time new products are becoming available. Game season is about to begin for example. Also it is the time when it makes sense to cook fuller, more indulgent meals and recipe is one of them.
Autumn is definitely a root vegetable season. I really like root vegetables, especially those underrated and sometimes almost forgotten ones. Why not use swedes, turnips or parsnips more often? This time I bring a humble parsnip into the spotlight. This lovely vegetable has been cultivated in Europe since antiquity. It has been used as a sweetener before cane and beet sugars become available. It was especially highly esteemed by Romans. Emperor Tiberius accepted part of the tribute payable to Rome by German tribes in parsnips. Parsnips are high in vitamins and minerals, especially potassium. They also contain antioxidants and dietary fibre. These days parsnips has been largely replaced by potato as a form of starch and much less cultivated. However correctly used it can bring a lot of flavour to many dishes and it makes a grate alternative to the usual spud. Natural sweetness of the parsnip puree works well with white fish or delicate chicken dishes. It can also make a good accompaniment to pork, complementing salty gammon particularly well.
- 800g parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
- 500g semi skimmed milk
- 75g salted butter
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Put the parsnip chunks in a large pan and pour in the milk. If there is not enough liquid to cover all of the parsnip chunks top it up with water.
- Bring to boil under cover over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for another 20 minutes or until parsnips are well cooked and very tender.
- Drain the pan but reserve about quarter of the cooking liquid.
- Return the drained parsnips and reserved cooking liquid back into the pan and then add the butter.
- Blitz with a stick blender until smooth. You want to achieve the consistency of a very thick or lightly whipped cream. Season to taste.
Serve with a dish of your choice. The puree is very creamy and adds element of moisture most dishes so do not mix it with large quantities of heavy sauces.