What’s cooking today: Caramelised parsnips
Parsnips are misunderstood, even mistrusted. What would you do with that, many people seem to think? Yet it’s my favourite vegetable. Here’s one way I like to cook them.
Finding a treasure trove of parsnips is a momentous thing in my cooking life. They’re scarce, generally, in South Africa, and in my neck of the woods they’re nonexistent. Which is pretty frustrating – it’s my favourite vegetable.
Parsnips make a superlative mash or purée. You can use parsnip mash on top of a cottage pie or shepherd’s pie, serve it with a juicy lamb shank, or add a layer of it to a moussaka instead of (or as well as) the béchamel.
They also caramelise beautifully, a process most effective if taken nice and slow. You need a large flat frying pan with a lid.
5 to 8 parsnips, depending on their sizes, peeled and cut into long wedges
3 Tbsp butter
4 or 5 thyme sprigs
1 glass of dry white wine
½ a glass of Cape tawny Port or similar fortified wine
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
In a large frying pan that has a lid, melt the butter and add the wine and thyme sprigs. Lay the parsnip wedges (i.e. long strips the entire length of the parsnip) alongside one another to fill the pan. Give it a shake to coat everything. Toss the pan now and then to turn the strips of parsnip over so that all sides become glazed.
Put a moderate heat on and bring the liquids to a gentle simmer, put the lid on, turn the heat down low, and cook very gently for about an hour or as long as it takes for the liquids to reduce so that the strips will start browning.
Pour in the Port or other fortified wine, season with salt and black pepper, shake the pan and continue cooking to get a good glaze on them.
Serve with a meaty meal such as a fillet steak, pork chops or as a side dish to a chicken roast. DM/TGIFood
Tony Jackman is Galliova Food Champion 2021. His book, foodSTUFF, is available in the DM Shop. Buy it here.
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