Thursday, December 30, 2010

Parsnips... no really, they're good!

I know, I know... what am I doing raving about root vegetables?  I hear you.  And honestly, I'm not even sure how this one ended up in my recipe box.  But it did. And it's amazing.  If you like carrots, that sort of spicy-earthy taste, you'll love parsnips.  Love.  I hope you'll give it a try. 

Creamy Rice with Parsnip Puree and Root Veggies
30-40 minutes, serves 8-10 as a side dish

1-1/4 c rice (I used a mix of brown basmati and my favorite calrose)
4 c chicken or vegetable stock (or broth, just taste before salting the dish)
2-3 medium parsnips, diced should equal 2 cups
2 turnips, diced should equal 1 cup
4 medium sized carrots, diced should equal 1 cup
1 T olive oil
3/4 t salt
Salt and pepper to taste.
Grated parmesan cheese (optional)

If you don't already have one, I strongly suggest splurging on an electric rice cooker- one with a non-stick pot will run you $20-30 at Target.  Rinse the rice in the pot then fill with water - determine the right level by putting the tip of your middle finger at the rice level, the water level should be at the first crease on that same finger.  A sweet little trick I learned from my brother the chef, works every time!

Start the rice, then on to the puree:

Cut up enough parsnip to make 1 cup.  In a large saucepan or pot, heat 1 T olive oil. Add parsnips and toss to coat.  Sautee about 5 minutes, until softened but not browned.  Add 2 cups stock/broth and cook until reduced by about half.  Surface area is the trick here... the bigger the pot, the faster the evaporation.

While that's cooking:

Start a pot of water to boil with 3/4 t salt, then cut up the rest of your veggies.  Toss the cut-up veggies into the pot of water and cook 5 minutes.  When you do this, put a bowl into the sink and fill it with ice and cold water.  You'll drain the veggies then toss them into the ice water to blanch them (stops the cooking and keeps them nice and bright looking).

While the veggies are cooling:

Pour the parsnip and stock mix into a blender (or magic bullet) and puree.  If you need to add a little extra liquid, use some of the remaining stock.  Here comes the fun part.

Put the cooked rice, puree and blanched veggies all back into the large pot over low-medium heat.  Stir to combine, add the remaining stock and season to taste.  Serve hot with a little parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.  Yum! 

Modified from:

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