Parsnip and potato soup with crisp diced bacon This is a recipe modified from Diane Morgan’s Roots, perfect cool-weather comfort food. With or without the bacon, delicious.

  • 3 sprigs of thyme, parsley, sage, whatever you happen to have on hand
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion, or 2-3 scallions, chopped
  • 1 1/2 lbs parsnips, cut into 1” chunks (peel if you prefer)
  • 1 lb potatoes, cut into 1 “ chunks
  • 1/4 c dry white wine or sherry
  • 6 cups homemade chicken stock
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, or whole milk
  • sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 5 slices of bacon, cut into 1/2” pieces

Melt butter in a large stock pot over med-low heat. Add onions, cover, cook, stirring occationally, until the onions are solf, but not browned, about eight minutes. Add parsnips and potatoes and cook, stirring constantly until well coated with butter, about two minutes. Add the sherry, raise the heat to medium-high and saute the vegetables, stirring occationally, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the stock and the herbs (you can slip the herbs into a little bit of cheese cloth so they are easy to remove, or you can decide not to fuss with it). Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer, partially covered until the vegetables are fork soft, soft enough to puree (about 30 minutes). Process the soup either in batches using a blender, or using an immersion blender/boat motor tool (if your herbs are in cheese cloth, remove before blending). Return the pureed soup t o the pot/stove, over low heat, add cream. Don’t boil the soup, just heat it until steaming and serve with crumbly bits of crispy bacon as a garnish.

Parsnip custard (!?) yes, you read this right. Another something amazing from Deborah Madison’s Vegetable Literacy – modified a smidge.

  • 1½ lbs parsnips
  • sea salt
  • 1½ cups buttermilk, milk, or half-and-half
  • ½ cup loosely packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 whole eggs and 1 egg yolk
  • ¾ tsp ground cardamom
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup heavy cream

Heat oven to 325°F. Peel and chop parsnips and measure 3 cups. Put them in a sauce pan, add water to cover and a few pinches of salt, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook until the parsnips are soft enough to mash, 15-20 minutes. Test with paring knife to make sure they are soft. Drain the parsnips and then return them to the pot for a few minutes to dry in the residual heat. Transfer to a blender or food processor add the buttermilk, sugar, whole eggs and egg yolk, ½ teaspoon of the cardamom, nutmeg and cinnamon and vanilla extract. Blend or pulse until very smooth. Divide mixture evenly amongst six ½-cup ramekins. Place the ramekins in a baking pan and ll the pan half way with near-boiling water. Bake in oven until set and lightly pued, about 45 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the water bath and serve immediately or allow to cool and chill before serving. Whip the heavy cream along with the remaining ¼ teaspoon of cardamom until soft peaks form. Serve each ramekin with a dollop of whipped cream and a pinch of ground cardamom.

Autumn Root Vegetable Gratin with herbs and cheese

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • cloves garlic
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 pound squash
  • 3/4 pound potatoes
  • 1/2 pound parsnips
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • cup grated Gruyère
  • cup grated Pecorino

Heat the oven to 400° F. Put the milk in a small heavy saucepan and peel and smash one of the garlic cloves. Add it to the milk and then heat the milk over low heat until it just starts to bubble at the edges. Remove from the heat, add the nutmeg and let steep while you continue with the recipe.

Peel the second garlic clove, cut it in half and rub the cut side around the inside of a 6-cup baking dish no more than 2 inches deep. Rub 1 tablespoon of the oil all over the inside of the dish. Peel the squash, potatoes and parsnips and cut them into very thin slices (1/8-inch thick). (If you have a mandoline, now’s the time to use it.)

Layer the vegetables into the baking dish, alternating between squash, potato and parsnip, and fanning them into concentric, overlapping circles. Season generously with salt and pepper and sprinkle a third of the cheese and a third of the chopped herbs over the slices. Repeat twice, making the top layer as neat and tidy as you can.

Remove the garlic clove from the hot milk and pour the milk evenly over the vegetables. Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the top of the gratin and bake for about 50 minutes, until the top is browned and bubbly and the vegetables yield easily when you poke them with a sharp knife. If the vegetables are tender but the top isn’t as brown as you’d like, turn on the broiler for a couple of minutes — watch it carefully so it doesn’t burn. Let the gratin cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Easy Roasted Root Vegetables Use what ever root vegetables you have available – beets, parsnips, potatoes, carrots, etc.

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped carrots 
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped parsnips 
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped sweet potatoes 
  • tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme (or sage, rosemary, what have you)

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut all vegetables into cubes/chunks/bits, all roughly 3/4 inch.  Using your fingers, toss the vegetables with the oil, salt and thyme and lay evenly on a baking sheet.

Put the vegetables in the oven and roast for 20 minutes. Flip them gently with a spatula and continue to roast until the vegetables are crisp and tender, another 10 to 20 minutes. Serve hot, warm or at room temp.


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