As I promised, we are now getting to the good stuff in this Thanksgiving series. Smashed, crrrreeeaaamy, garlicky root veggies. Just when they think your going to whip up the standard mashed potato substitute, cauliflower, she throws a curve-ball. Nope, notta, no cauliflower here in this bowl. Just thick, hearty mashed potatoes, turnips and parsnips. Pars-n-i, what’d ya say? A p-a-r-s-n-i-p, just another fancy ol’ root vegetable that doesn’t get a lot of praise or glory anytime of the year. Oh and there is a turnip or two in the mix as well. Trust me, the flavors are very close to the traditional mash, yet there is a hint of something that most people can’t quite put their finger on. Just the way I like it, that little bit of surprise that leaves them thinking and ultimately wanting more.
It really is a great philosophy for creating, cooking and anything else you may be doing. Close enough to something but yet different enough that they can’t quite guess. I once had a great friend give me this advice when picking colors for our house. Say for instance you want to paint your bedroom purple, you want to a pick a color that looks like purple but doesn’t scream purple. It is just a whisper of that color leaving you to believe it is purple but ultimately making you think about it. Get where I am going?
Trust me, this was quite eye opening to me as well, but I like it, I really, really like it. So if you can do it with colors then why not food? Make people think they are getting “traditional” mashed potatoes but surprise, there is more than just that in this bowl. Pssst, I wouldn’t yell out surprise when your dinner guests are eating, you may startle them. Been there and done that, and it didn’t go over so good…. ->AHEM<- Possibly because I am the queen of hiding health foods in things, some turn out and others don’t. Just roll with it.
So what’s a parsnip you may be wondering? Time for a little…
A parsnip is a root vegetable closely related to the carrot and parsley. It looks that a pale carrot, that is a creamy-white color. It is eaten as a carrot either raw or cooked but has a sweeter taste. The longer the parsnip is left in the ground the sweeter it becomes. The parsnip is usually cooked but can also be eaten raw. They are often times used in soups and stews to provide a rich flavor. It is high in many vitamins and minerals, especially potassium. And it is chocked full of health-giving fiber.
When cooking with parsnips or other sweet vegetables, a dash of nutmeg and/or cinnamon helps to pull out even more sweetness providing a richer taste. So I challenge you to spice up your “traditional” Thanksgiving with a new twist to the standard foods. Entice your guests and entice their palates. Who knows it may create a stir in their taste buds to want to know more.
Before you leave, let me ask you this debatable questions. How many pounds of potatoes do you prepare per guest? Let me know in the comments below.
Check out the rest of my Thanksgiving posts:
- 6 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 turnip, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 4 parsnips, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups broth, veggie or chicken
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1-2 Tbsp minced Fresh chives
- Place potatoes, parsnips, turnip, and garlic in a medium saucepan.
- Add 2 cups broth and enough water to cover.
- Place over medium high heat and cook until vegetables are easily pierced with the tip of a knife, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Drain, reserving 1 cups of the cooking liquid.
- Return vegetables to saucepan and add butter, and ¼ cup cooking liquid.
- Using a potato masher, mash until smooth, adding more cooking liquid as necessary.
- Season with nutmeg, cinnamon salt, pepper and chives.
- Serve immediately or place in a slow cooker to keep warm adding additional cooking liquid as needed.
Curious about my thoughts on potatoes? Check out my article, The Dirt on Potatoes.