Seasonal ingredient: ideas with buttery parsnips

Parsnips may seem to be merely slightly fancier carrots, but these root veggies are worth your admiration for their sweet, buttery and almost butterscotchy flavour when cooked. Suitable for roasting, boiling, stewing or frying, the parsnip is versatile and works extremely well with spices and sweetness. It’s richer in vitamins and minerals than the carrot, and packed with potassium and dietary fibre. All in all, the parsnip is a perfect winter dinner companion.

Try these quick ideas with parsnips:

  • Root vegetable fries, made from parsnip, beetroots, carrots and sweet potatoes, are easy and delicious – and definitely more gourmet than normal potato crisps.
  • Parsnips and beef make a great combination. Add chunks of parsnip to rich braised beef stew or oxtail to give the gravy a more complex flavour.
  • Incorporating sweet, delicately spiced roasted veggies and crunchy pecan nuts, this recipe for honey-roast parsnip and pear soup is a show-stopper.
Honey-roast parsnip and pear soup

Honey-roast parsnip and pear soup

  • Parsnip is a good match for watercress in a winter salad. Toss the cubed, roasted root vegetable with the leaves, crumble a stinky blue cheese over the top and dress with a vinaigrette.
  • Spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cumin really flatter parsnips. Fry the spices with chopped onions before adding the veg when making comforting soup, or sprinkle spice over chopped cubes of parsnip before you drizzle over some olive oil and pop them in the hot oven to roast.
  • For a sweeter vegetable roast, add lots of butter, thyme and maple syrup to your parsnips.
  • Along with carrots and artichokes, parsnips are a good replacement for chicken in an Indian korma.
  • Good old-fashioned creamy potato bake takes a tasty turn when the potato is replaced with parsnip. Pair it with thyme and top with gruyère for extra personality.
  • If you’re feeling very adventurous, you could try one of the recipes crafted for us by the country’s top chefs. There’s a wintery recipe of salt-roasted chicken with seasonal leeks and parsnips, created by Tokara‘s executive chef Richard Carstens, and a recipe for chicken with vanilla parsnip purée and leek confit with Madeira reduction, courtesy of Henrico Grobbelaar, the former executive chef of Azure, who’s now heading up Equus Dine on the Cavalli Estate in Somerset West.
Chicken with vanilla parsnip purée and leek confit with Madeira reduction

Chicken with vanilla parsnip purée and leek confit with Madeira reduction

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