Parsnips are a pale coloured root vegetable similar to a carrot in shape & taste with a hint of sweetness when cooked. They are related to carrots, celery & fennel. Rich in potassium & high in fibre, parsnips are a great winter crop to be roasted, mashed or for use in stews. In fact, they need to be exposed to the first frost of the year in order for the starches to be converted into sugars resulting in a tasty veggie. For this reason, they are not grown in warm climates. When purchasing, choose medium sized parsnips as large ones may be woody.
Try out this vegetarian recipe to give parsnips a try!
- 2 cups great Northern beans
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 medium onion, stuck with 3 whole cloves
- 1 celery rib with leaves, quartered
- 1 carrot, quartered
- sea salt, to taste
- ground pepper, to taste
- 1 pound medium parsnips, peeled, halved, cut into 2-inch lengths
- 4 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch lengths
- 1 small celery root, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 leeks, sliced into ½-inch rounds
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 cups coarse fresh breadcrumbs
Soak the beans in water to cover, 8 to 12 hours. Drain.
Combine the beans with water to cover by 2 inches in a large oven-proof pot over medium heat.
Bring to a boil, skimming off any foam. Stir in the thyme, bay leaves, onion, celery and carrot.
Lower the heat and simmer, covered, 1 hour, until beans are starting to become tender. Remove the onion, celery and carrot. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
Meanwhile, prepare the root vegetables. Preheat oven to 425°F. Combine parsnips, carrot, celery root and leeks. Toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, spread in a baking dish and dot with butter. Roast until vegetables are nearly tender, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes.
Add the vegetables to the pot with the beans, plus additional water, if needed, to cover. Cook until the beans and vegetables are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Pour off the excess liquid.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400°F. Heat remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and sauté until lightly golden, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs evenly over the surface of the stew and bake, uncovered, until the breadcrumbs are golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Serve immediately.
If freezing stew, do not top with breadcrumbs. Thaw, top with breadcrumbs and bake until crumbs are browned and stew is thoroughly heated.