Yay we made it to Friday! Remember when I said I had exciting news? Well, I can finally spill the beans y’all. I am starting a new job here in Ogden that will allow me to do more of the “office work” that I enjoy doing and also will allow me more time to work on my freelance projects. One other thing, I won’t be commuting to Salt Lake anymore! Today will be my first day at the new gig (though I still have about a week left with my previous contract which goes Mon-Thurs, hence starting this position on a Friday)
Anyway, this is a really huge deal for me personally – and a huge thing for our family because taking that commute away really opens up a ton of time for family fun Woo!
Today I have a really fun recipe that I hope will get a few of you out of you comfort zones. No, it’s not scary or difficult but I think some of the ingredients are often overlooked in the produce aisles. Even purchasing some of the ingredients, the checker had to ask me what the items were so she could ring me up properly. So today’s recipe is a make-shift lesson in veggies!
But not just any veggies because as winter begins to wrap up (hopefully!) and we look forward to spring, I wanted to share some of the veggies and herbs that we’ll be growing – or attempting to grow – in our garden this year. Even if you don’t have a garden space or a particularly green thumb, this will be a fun look at the seasonal veggies and ways to incorporate them into your diet.
Poblano Parsnip Soup
Prep Time: 15 min Cook Time: 30 min Serves: 3-4 as a main dish (roughly 1/2 gallon)
- 1.5-2 lbs Parsnips, peeled
- 2 Poblano Peppers, stems and seeds removed
- 1 lb Brussels Sprouts
- 2 Leeks
- 3 Cloves Garlic, minced or pressed
- 1/4 Yellow Onion, finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp Butter
- 4 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 5 Cups Milk
- Black Pepper, to taste
- Peel Parsnips and cut into wedges – (hate peeling veggies? me too! no worries, parsnips are a bit hardier than carrots making peeling is a cinch)
- Remove stems and seeds from the Poblano Peppers and slice lengthwise. We’ll be blending this down eventually so don’t worry spending a bunch of time making neat slices.
- Use a garlic press to prepare your Garlic. Alternatively, use a knife to mince the garlic – again we’ll be blending this so don’t worry about getting it perfect.
- In a large skillet, combine the Parsnips, Poblanos, Garlic and Olive Oil. Stir a few times to incorporate the oil. Cover and let simmer over a medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, chop up the Brussels Sprouts to the consistency of shredded lettuce, similar to preparing cabbage for cole slaw.
- Slice the Leeks into rounds.
- Chop the Onion to a fine dice.
- In a separate skillet, combine the Brussels Sprouts, Leeks, Onion and Butter. Sauté over a medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Make sure to incorporate the melting butter throughout.
- While those veggies are simmering in the butter, transfer the Parsnips mixture to a blender. I spooned the mixture in so as to leave any extra oil in the pan. We wanted the oil to help soften up the Parnsips but we don’t want an oily soup.
- Add 3 (of the 5) cups of Milk to the blender along with a dash of Black Pepper. Puree to a smooth consistency.
- Transfer this soup mixture back to the large skillet, add in the remaining 2 cups of Milk and the now cooked-down Brussels Sprouts/Veggie mixture.
- Simmer for an additional ten minutes, serve hot.
Serving Suggestion: Serve alongside crusty bread and bruschetta. Can also top with cheese if desired.
Parsnips – the white carrot
A little history…
Parsnips and carrots are thought to have originated in the Mediterranean – their history is a bit confusing because the Greeks and Romans refer to carrots and parsnips as one and the same. During the middle ages, the roots that look nearly identical to carrots other than their color, were used to treat all variety of illnesses including stomach aches and also tooth/mouth pains. Here in America, they were introduced in the early 1600s and were actually used as a sweetener long before sugar beets. Cook them down to an almost honey-like consistency and you’ll see, they are darn sweet.
Which variety to grow…
There are a wide variety of the roots here in the US, but “Gladiator” and “All American” are particularly hardy and easy to grow varieties. Since I’m a bit of a black-thumb myself, I’m looking at the Gladiator variety for our garden. Of course, check with your local nursery or a seed catalog to know which variety will be best for your area. You’ll want to plant your seeds in early spring and then pretty much leave them alone until frost. The cold weather actually starts changing the starches into sugars which increases the overall taste and sweetness. Because they take a while to start growing, you can use this space for quick-growers and multi-task your garden space. Start harvesting just after the first frost and you can even store over winter by packing with some sand or wood shavings and storing in a cool, dark place.
Not interested in growing parsnips for yourself? Not to fear, you can easily find parsnips at your local farmer’s market, particularly towards the end of the season and at grocery stores from mid-fall through winter. As in, right now – you should be able to find parsnips locally no problemo.
What’s so good about parnsips…
Unlike their orange companion, the carrot, parsnips aren’t loaded with beta-carotene so you might be wondering what’s the point? Parsnips are very low in saturated fats which makes them a great alternative to potatoes when making fries. They also have a ton of fiber, potassium, Vitamin C and several of the B-Complex groups. These are all important in maintaining healthy digestion, proper cell growth, fighting free radicals and controlling heart rate/blood pressure. They do have quite a bit of sugar, more so than even carrots, so you don’t want to go too crazy but they are definitely worth adding to your diet in moderation. And, they are rumored to be a bit of an aphrodisiac – going back to Roman times! Of course, that’s not really quantified but I have a feeling it might help sway my husband’s opinion of eating his vegetables
- Matthew Biggs’s Complete Book of Vegetables: The Practical Sourcebook to Growing, Harvesting and Cooking Vegetables
- Fast, Fresh Garden Edibles: Quick Crops for Small Spaces
- USDA National Nutrient Database
Other Parsnip Recipes: