Parsnips II: Success!

My first parsnip harvest from the garden. Roots are a bit gnarly, will add more sand and nutrients for next fall's crop.

Now lookie there. I was able to grow my own parsnips in Central Texas. Considering that they require a certain amount of below freezing temps to develop their sweetness, I couldn’t have picked a better year to try them out. Plenty of rain and chilly weather have been tough on most plants, but rewarded me with a few of these beloved veggies to play with.

With the four beauties pictured above I made some risotto. I adapted a Bon Appétit recipe and added my own touches according to what else was available in the garden that day. Here’s the recipe:

Parsnip and herb risotto for two

3 Tbsp. butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 large-ish parsnips, well scrubbed, peeled and cubed
1 Tbsp. fresh chopped thyme (rosemary or sage work well too)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup arborio or carnaroli rice
3 cups warm veggie or chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a heavy saucepan. Sautee onion until transparent and add parsnips and 1/s the herbs, and season with salt and pepper, stirring, until parsnips begin to soften and brown slightly. Add rice and keep stirring for about 2 minutes. Add broth and stir well. Cover and lower heat to low. Cook for about 10-15 minutes, then check for doneness, stirring. Add the wine, cover again, and simmer until rice is tender but al dente and most liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, add remaining herbs, 1 Tbsp. butter and grated Parm. Check salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

Peeling my prized parsnips for risotto

I served it with pan fried sockeye salmon seasoned with citrus salt and drizzled with an amazing aged balsamic that I got for Christmas (thanks Sarah!). Some arugula (from the garden) tossed in olive oil and lemon (from my tree!) and we felt like dining at a nice restaurant, but in the comfort of our own kitchen and with Pickles next to us. Life is good.

I’ll be picking more parsnips this weekend so more recipes to come. have ideas? Send them on. I already made Dana’s soup (from previous Parsnip post) so send new ones.  Apparently valentine’s Day is the time to plant potatoes so I need to make room for them. More on that later.

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