We really love winter root vegetables in our house. By that I mean swede, carrots, jerusalem artichokes, beetroot, celeriac and the lovely parsnip. These are vegetables that really come into their own in the winter months, and it's no surpise that most winter soups and stews use them in one form of another.
My absolute favourites are the parnips and swede. (Rutabaga to you North Americans.) We ate rutabaga a lot when I was growing up, except that we called them turnips then. Surprisingly they were only known as pig fodder over here for a long time . . . no wonder the pork was so tasty.
My mother didn't like parsnips though. I can remember her cooking them for us once and I fell in love with their delicious sweetness. She had peeled them, cut them into rounds and then pan fried them in butter. Oh, my but they were gorgeous! She discovered though that she still didn't like them so that was the end of our having them at home.
I cannot imagine anyone not loving them. Perhaps if she had tasted them done this way, she would have liked them more. I shall have to try to tempt her with them the next time we are together.
And . . . if she still doesn't like them . . . no matter . . . that just means there's more for me.
*Parsnip and Swede Mash*
Scrummy, yummy with the delicious flavours of swede, parsnips mashed together with horseradish, sour cream and thyme. A crunchy buttery breadcrumb topping is it's crowning glory.
4 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
1 medium swede, peeled and cut into similar sized chunks as the parsnips
2 dessertspoons of sour cream
1 TBS creamed horseradish
salt and black pepper to taste
1 large sprig of thyme, the leaves stripped and stem discarded
For the buttery topping:
2 TBS butter
1 small onion, peeled and minced
1 large handful of soft white breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
Place the swede and parsnips into a pan of sligthly salted boiling water. Lower the heat and cook, covered, for 20 to 25 minutes until quite tender. Drain well. Mash together with a potato masher and then stir in the sour cream, horseradish and thyme. You want a rough texture so don't mash too finely. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Pre-het the oven to 190*C/375*F. Butter a shallow baking dish. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a skillet. Add the onion and cook, stirring until golden brown. Add the bread crumbs and cook, stirring until the crumbs are crisp and golden. Add the thyme and season with a bit of salt if desired.
Spread the vegetable mash in the buttered baking dish. Sprinkle the crumbs over top. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve hot.