Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Roasted Carrots and Parsnips


Yay!  The parsnips are starting to show up again in the grocery store!   That means Fall is here and roasted vegetables will be turning up on everyone's menu soon.  Since they are delicious, healthy, and easy, isn't it time for you to give these guys a try?

Parsnips may be a little foreign to some of you... They are related to the carrot, and actually look like white carrots, but are a little spicier, and when cooked, a little sweeter than carrots.  They are often picked after the first frost, so this is why we are just beginning to see them again.  These roasted vegetables are both rustic and elegant at the same time, and make  a lovely side for a roasted chicken or cornish hens.  The starches in them eventually turn to sugar, and they are just wonderful.

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Ingredients:
½ bag     carrots
½ bag     parsnips
½ - 1         sweet onion
to drizzle    extra virgin olive oil
to taste       kosher salt
to taste       fresh cracked pepper
a sprig        fresh thyme (optional)










Method
First, you have to get yourself a carrot and parsnip peeler.  The one in the blue shirt is mine.
Yes... I had to go in and update this photo.  Two years later and we are still making these, and I have the same helper as a vegetable peeler!

Peel and cut the carrots and parsnips into thick “fry” shapes (or however you want to cut them) – as long as they are all the same size and shape for even cooking.
Peel and cut the onion into medium-to-thick rings (from the root or stem side).  Arrange all veggies on cookie sheet. You can line with foil for easier clean up if you’d like.
Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Add stripped thyme leaves if desired.


Roast in oven about 400 F for about 45 - 60 minutes or until insides are fork tender and outsides are crispy, turning every 20 min or so.
 
The carrots and parsnips (and even the onions) will turn deliciously sweet as the starches convert to sugar during the roasting process.
If the carrots still taste "carrot'y" then they are NOT ready yet... they will get really sweet.  Give them time!
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Here are some Bonus recipes!
Fireworks Roast (aka Beef Pot Roast) 

Rosemary Black Pepper No-Knead Artisan Bread 

Creamy Chicken Piccata 

Toasted Couscous Salad with Asparagus and Tomatoes 

New Orleans Praline Brownies 

Cheater Cheater Chicken and Dumplings 
Pumpkin Upside Down Cake 


Method:
Peel and cut the carrots and parsnips into thick “fry” shapes (or however you want to cut them) – as long as they are all the same size and shape for even cooking.  Peel and cut the onion into medium-to-thick rings (from the root or stem side).  Arrange all veggies on cookie sheet. You can line with foil for easier clean up if you’d like.  Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season with kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper.  Add stripped thyme leaves if desired. A few sprigs of thyme still on the stems is very pretty in the mix.
Roast in oven about 400 F for about 45 - 60 minutes or until insides are fork tender and outsides are crispy, turning every 20 min or so.  The carrots and parsnips (and even the onions) will turn deliciously sweet as the starches convert to sugar during the roasting process.   If the carrots still taste "carrot'y" then they are NOT ready yet... they will get really sweet.  Give them time!

Food Nerd Notes:
While parsnips can be eaten raw, they are more commonly served cooked. Parsnips can be boiled, roasted or used in stews, soups, and casseroles.  In some cases, the parsnip is boiled and the solid portions are removed from the soup or stew, leaving behind a more subtle flavor than the whole root and contributing starch to thicken the dish. 

The parsnip originated in the Mediterranean region and originally was the size of a baby carrot when fully grown. When the Roman Empire expanded north through Europe, the Romans brought the parsnip with them. They found that the parsnip grew bigger the farther north they went

Parsnips are not grown in warm climates, since frost is necessary to develop their flavor. The parsnip is a favorite with gardeners in areas with short growing seasons.  Seeds can be planted in early spring, as soon as the ground can be worked. Harvesting can begin in late fall after the first frost, and continue through winter until the ground freezes over. More than almost any other vegetable seed, parsnip seed significantly deteriorates in viability if stored for long, so it is advisable to use fresh seed each year.

In Roman times, parsnips were believed to be an aphrodisiac. (I'm gonna let that sentence sink in a while.)

In the United States, this plant was introduced by British colonists as a root vegetable. In the mid-19th century it was replaced by the potato and consequently escaped from cultivation.
The parsnip is richer in vitamins and minerals than its close relative, the carrot. It is particularly rich in potassium with 600 mg per 100 g (that means it can help you manage that blood pressure). The parsnip is also a good source of dietary fiber. 100 g of parsnip contains 75 calories (230 kJ) of energy.  Since we are roasting the vegetables, we lose nothing none of our vitamins to the water (like we would in boiling them).

1 comment:

  1. Julie, saw this over at the Food Bloggers pinterest board you participate in. I have to make this for my wife and me.

    ReplyDelete

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