26 September 2011

Maple Braised Carrots and Parsnips

As root crop season is just beginning here in Michigan, I had to push the season a bit and make this lovely braised vegetable dish for supper last night!

This was the very first year I grew parsnips in my garden and I was quite surprised at what a great crop they are turning out to be!  It's a little dicey on our soil with root crops, as it tends to lean toward clay.  The clay soil forces the roots to grow all crazy instead of long and slender...they don't look as pretty, but taste great all the same!  I am not harvesting many parsnips yet as most of what I have read about growing them suggests to allow them to experience a frost before harvest.  After the frost, all of their sugars come out and the parsnips will taste sweeter.   If you have any experience growing parsnips, I'd love to hear about your thoughts on the subject!


6 tablespoons  butter
1 3- to 3 1/2-pounds carrots and parsnips, peeled, cored (parsnips) & cut into 1-inch cubes
1 1/4 cups low-salt chicken broth
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/4 teaspoon (or more) black pepper

Melt butter in heavy large deep skillet over high heat. Add carrots and parsnips; sauté 1 minute. Add broth, syrup, thyme, salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook until almost tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer carrots and parsnips to large bowl. Boil liquid in skillet until thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Return vegetables to skillet. Cook until tender, turning occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with more pepper, if desired.

I was quite surprised to see an article in Saveur magazine about cooking vegetables, specifically on cooking them past "al dente"!  I feel like it's way past time to acknowledge that some vegetables ARE tastier when well cooked!  Carrots and parsnips definitely fall into that category for me!

I originally found this recipe online and it featured butternut squash, which is delicious prepared this way, but the carrots and parsnips were SO fantastic!  


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