Parsnip and Rutabaga Smash

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Snooki may like to smoosh, but when it came to the root vegetables that I brought home from the farmer’s market last week, I was in the mood to smash.

I was making roast chicken (my go-to weeknight dish) and my standard practice is to stick some root vegetables under or around the chicken, to crank up the oven and to rejoice as all that chicken fat infuses the vegetables with its chickeny goodness.

This time, though, I wanted a change. So I studied those two parsnips and that rutabaga:

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Then I peeled them:

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I cut them into equally sized chunks (about 1-inch all around), first cutting the tough core out of the thick ends of the parsnips. I put the chunks into a pot:

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And covered them all with cold water (about an inch of water over their heads). I added a sprinkle of salt, cranked up the heat and brought it to a boil, lowered to a simmer and allowed it all to cook until the veggies were super tender (about 30 minutes). By super tender I mean: a knife went through them easily.

I strained them and placed them into a bowl:

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Then the fun began. I poured in a little honey that I’d also purchased at the farmer’s market:

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I lightly browned 4 tablespoons of butter:

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I poured the butter over the vegetables and added another generous sprinkling of salt and pepper:

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Then I smashed everything, just like you saw in that lead photo and took a taste. Nice! True, there was a bit of stringiness going on, so be prepared for that, but this was a sweet, rooty, buttery side that worked as a perfect base for my chicken dinner:

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[In case you’re like, “Whoah where did that sauce come from?” The advantages to roasting the chicken by itself in a cast iron skillet without any vegetables is that you get a terrific chicken fond on the bottom of the pan and all of that fat. So when it comes out of the oven, remove the chicken pour off some fat (leave a few tablespoons) add a tablespoon or two of flour and crank up the heat. Stir that together until you get a roux (a brown paste) and then add a big glass of white wine. Whisk the roux into the wine until the sauce thickens. There you go!]

Next time you get root vegetables, try smashing them like I did. Or you could try smooshing them Snooki style: [Warning this clip is from “South Park.” Hide your kids.]

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