You can boil a parsnip; you can boil it then mash, even add the mashed parsnip to other vegetables, all of which, of course, is delicious. But, if you want to make your parsnips sing with sweetness and texture, then roasting is the only way to go.
The much-maligned parsnip comes into its own when roasted in the oven as it intensifies what already is a sweet vegetable. Plus, the roasting in hot fat also caramelises those sugars which add a lovely crisp coat to the parsnip. And the biggest bonus, all this can be achieved easily and quickly. Love it.
Which oil or fat to use is up to you. Goose or duck fat will add even more flavour to the parsnip, as will dripping or lard but not quite as much. Oil gives no taste but does still create the crisp outer.
- 1 lb / 500g fresh, seasonal parsnips, peeled
- 2 tablespoons goose fat, lard, dripping or vegetable oil
- Sea Salt
- Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7
- Cut the parsnips into even bite-sized chunks or finger thick wedges.
- Place them in a large saucepan, cover with cold, slightly salted water and bring to the boil.
- Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for five minutes. When cooked, the parsnips should be slightly tender but absolutely not soft. If you overcook them then mash with lots of butter and pepper as like that they will not roast.
- So, once lightly cooked, drain and place to one side to allow the parsnips to cool slightly.
- Heat the fat in a roasting tin until scorching but not burning. Carefully tip the parsnips into the hot fat. Using a tablespoon coat each piece with hot fat, this will prevent the parsnips from sticking.
- Return the roasting tin to the oven and roast for ten mins. Turn all the parsnips over and roast for a further ten mins or until the parsnips are golden brown. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon, drain on kitchen paper.
- Serve immediately.
If you wish, you can prepare your parsnips in advance. Parboil the parsnips as above, and once tender, drain, cool, cover then place in the refrigerator. Bring back to room temperature when you are ready to cook them then proceed with the recipe; a great technique when you have a large dinner to prepare such as Christmas or Sunday Lunch.
Alternative Flavours to Add to Roast Parsnips
Once the parsnips are in the hot fat, just before roasting add a good sprinkling of sesame seeds.