With Thanksgiving coming up soon, I'm sure a lot of us are on the search for interesting recipes for side dishes to accompany our birds.
A mash of some sort is a natural to partner for a thick slice of roasted turkey. However, as much as I love mashed potatoes, I tend to prefer mashes and purées using other, unexpected vegetables, such as yucca, celery root, carrots that have been steamed with cilantro and then puréed with olive oil, or lima beans that have simmered with garlic and a sprig of fresh rosemary.
I adapted a purée recipe from Living and Eating by John Pawson, who, interestingly, is one of England's top architects. As Vanessa recently wrote, parsnips for some reason seem to be underrated and under used. One of the reasons I liked this recipe is that the parsnips are sautéed in butter, braised in white wine and then simmered in chicken stock and the results and unexpectedly light and fresh tasting. Mr. Pauson advises to puree the parsnip chunks in a blender, but most cooks agree that blenders and food processors tend to result in a gluey mash.
Serves 4 to 6
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 pounds parsnips, peeled and thickly sliced
2/3 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
3 heaping tablespoons creme fraiche or heavy cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Melt the butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add the sliced parsnips and sweat for 5 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently, until they start to get a little color. Pour in the wine and cook until it has reduced and sticky. Add 1 cup of the chicken stock, bring to a simmer and then cover the pan and cook over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until the parsnips are tender.
Add the remaining 1/2 cup of chicken stock, the creme fraiche or heavy cream and season with salt and pepper and using a potato masher or ricer (if you happen to have one), mash everything together until the parsnips are smooth and creamy. Serve immediately or keep warm in a heat proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water.