PROVENCE & PARSNIPS

Last week, Rachel of Delicious Balance gave us a delicious recipe for  French bread and today she's sharing her recipe for mashed parsnips. Now, you may have a few questions, namely how we jumped from delicious carb-y goodness to a mashed vegetable, but trust us! This recipe is incredible. 

Hello again! I have a much less complicated recipe to share with you this week. But first, a little bit about the inspiration and lesson learned behind this recipe. 

parsnips

While my mom and I were in France, we had the opportunity to take some amazing cooking classes. On our last day in Aix-en-Provence, we took a class at L' Atelier des Chefs where we met Benjamin. Benjamin loves what he does and loved making sure we were learning something. Oh, and he loves vegetables! While I learned a lot that day, the biggest thing I took away was that nothing goes to waste in the kitchen, NOTHING...and  that everything is better than water. 

After shopping at the market, we peeled and prepped our veggies. All of the peels went into a pot of simmering water to make our stock for the day. It was so simple but so eye-opening for me. We peeled quince (similar to an apple) to make our tart tatin and the peels went in another pot of simmering water, which would later be reduced and used as a garnish for our dessert plate. We blanched broccoli and the vitamin-rich water was later used to cook pasta. We didn't salt the stock but it added another layer of flavor to whatever we were making. Not to mention, the peels add more nutrients to our meal as well. Nothing goes to waste in the kitchen! 

Since being home, I have been saving the scraps from my weekly veggie prep and simmering it in water from 45 minutes to an hour. This is not only an easy way to make use out of scraps that are otherwise wasted, it's a great money saver and a great way to add flavor and nutrition into dishes.

I have been adding everything to my stock; onion peels/cores, garlic peels, stems from fresh herbs, ends and peels of carrots, and stems of peppers. Depending on what I am using the stock for, I try not to add strongly flavored vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, etc. My weekly veggie prep usually includes carrots, potatoes, garlic, onion, and other seasonal veggies.

Side Note: I only do this with using organic produce. The peel is the part of the vegetable that contains the most pesticide. I try to buy organic whenever I can, but when I buy conventional, I just discard the peels.  

During the cooking class, we used our stock to make mashed parsnips. Oh so delicious...and oh so easy. I hadn't cooked much with parsnips before but that has changed. If you're not familiar with parsnips, they look like a giant white carrot. They are a great source of potassium and also contribute to your daily intake of vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, iron, and some B vitamins. Their flavor is so unique and delicious...I have been craving them daily since being home. 

This parsnip mash is a great alternative to mashed potatoes without all the starch. I'm even debating having mashed parsnips on the menu in place of mashed potatoes (gasp!). They are just that good.

Mashed Parsnips

Makes about 2 cups

4 cups parsnips, peeled and chopped into 2 inch chunks (about 3 medium parsnips)

2 cups unsalted vegetable stock, plus more as needed*

1 tablespoon Earth Balance

Salt and pepper to taste*

*You can use water in place of unsalted vegetable stock. I would stay away from a strongly flavored vegetable broth. I used a red pepper we bought in France. It is very mild, almost like a sweet paprika. If you don't have sweet paprika, you can use black pepper. 

1. Add parsnips and vegetable stock to a medium pot. You want enough stock to barely cover the parsnips. Bring stock to a boil and reduce heat to medium. You want to maintain a low boil. 

2. Boil, uncovered, until the stock is evaporated, about 30 minutes. 

3. Mash parsnips, add Earth Balance and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. For a creamier mash, use an immersion blender or food processor and process to desired consistency (I used an immersion blender in the photos)

Not only is Rachel an excellent chef and writer, she also was the photographer for this post. Images are used with her permission. If you're interested in more of Rachel's recipes, she's one of 45 bloggers featured in the Casual Veggie Cookbook.