The meeting house is bedecked with the most lovely wreaths and the cold temperatures are here to stay, though we've had a wonderful lingering Fall ( aside from those two freak snowstorms on Halloween and the day before Thanksgiving). Fall brings some very special seasonal vegetables from the garden, and when I saw a small bunch of parsnips at the winter farmers market, I snatched them up.
Parsnips look a little like hairy, white carrots, and they go very well with carrots, whether roasting or simmering. In New England, they are often mashed together as a wonderful side dish, both sweet-tasting, but the parsnip has an earthier, mellow flavor that is absolutely unique and delicious. Since parsnips are harvested after the frosts have arrived, they're probably not available to you if you live in a warmer climate.
One of my favorite chowders is this one - a handful of cubed potatoes, two handfuls of cubed parsnips, smoky bacon, and lots of Italian parsley. It cooks up quickly, so the flavor of the parsnip is preserved.
To make 2 or 3 servings:
1 cup diced, peeled parsnip
1/2 cup diced potato
1 T. chopped onion
pinch of thyme
1 1/2 cups water or thin broth
four or five strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup medium or heavy cream
1 t. unsalted butter
freshly cracked pepper and kosher salt to taste
1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley
Place the parsnip, onion, thyme and potato in a saucepan , along with the water or broth, and bring to a boil. Immediately turn heat to low and cover. Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the parsnips and potatoes are just soft.
Add the cream and butter, bacon, and parsley and bring barely to a simmer, taste, and add fresh pepper and kosher salt as you wish.
* what I'm reading: