Tuesday 19 June 2007

Buttery Parsnip Mash

The Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa).
 Image: Wikimedia Commons
Parsnips are very well named, don't you agree? The word sounds like a parsnip looks: a big bulbous beginning tapering to a skinny little snippy-snappy bit. To me they look a little like goblins' legs, which is maybe why my kids have never worked up any enthusiasm for them.

This dish, however, received guarded approval from my taste team. The parsnips  I used were getting on for elderly, which is perhaps why this mash was so voluptuous.

You could add some orange juice and finely grated orange rind, or perhaps a pinch of ground cumin and coriander, or nutmeg, but I think it's just right tasting only of parsnip and butter.

Buttery Parsnip Mash

8 large parsnips, peeled
3 Tbsp (45 ml) butter
water, to cover
a pinch of salt
3-4 Tbsp (45-60 ml) cream
salt and milled black pepper

Cut the parsnips lengthways into quarters. If they have tough-looking fibrous cores, ease these out using a sharp knife, and discard.  Cut into small chunks.

Heat the butter in a saucepan, add the parsnip pieces and fry gently for five minutes. Now add just enough water to cover the parsnips.

Boil briskly until all the water has evaporated and the parsnips are very tender (top with with more water if necessary). Add the cream and mash to until smooth and fine. The amount of cream you use depends on the size and age of the 'snips - I suggest you start with two tablespoons, and keep adding more until you're satisfied with the consistency.

At this point, you can push the mash through a sieve to make a silken purée, but usually can't be bothered.

Serves 6 as a side dish.

My rating: 10/10
Teenagers' rating: 7/10
Small-daughter rating: 5/10 ('Nice, but a bit sticky and hairy')

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