Saturday, January 3, 2009

I Like Parsnips

Yes, the statement "I like parsnips" is worth of a post title all of it's own. I've never actually tried them before, because they just seemed gross, right up there with turnips and brussel sprouts. I'm still not a huge turnip fan (but I'm always open to more ideas!) and haven't brought myself to try brussel sprouts yet. It's tough being a reformed picky eater.

But anyways, I could no longer avoid parsnips, as I've gotten several in recent weeks from my C.S.A. and I hate to waste food. Lately, I've been wanting to make some lentil soup, and since I mentally associate lentils with root vegetables, I thought it might be a good way to mask any undesirable flavors. When I pulled out the parsnips, I was going to discard the greens, then realized that I do like turnip greens, and well, greens never hurt lentil soup, so might as well throw them all in too.

Turns out, the title is a lie. I love parsnips. They're firm, slightly sweet and just so nice tasting. I actually wish I had more to cook with! And that's a dangerous statement to make. Last time I wished for more produce, with my beloved pomegranates, I ended up with over a dozen. But hey, I can eat parsnip and lentil soup all year long. That's what freezers are for after all.

I'd like to point out that with most of my soups, particularly those that start with onion, garlic and carrots, normal people throw in celery. However, it's not one of my favorite flavors, it doesn't come in my C.S.A. box so I'd have to buy it special, so I don't add it. If you like celery, have it on hand or want to bulk up the veggies in the soup, please feel free to add it.

Lentil and Root Vegetable Soup
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch ginger, peeled and minced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 parsnips, peeled and diced, greens reserved
1 cup lentils
4 cups vegetable broth or bouillon
greens from 2 parsnips, chopped

Heat oil in the bottom of a large stockpot over medium high heat. Add onions, garlic and ginger, and sautee for 2-3 minutes until very fragrant. Add carrots and parsnips, cook for another 5 min until onions are soft. Stir in lentils, coating thoroughly, and heat for another 2 minutes. Add broth, and simmer covered for 20 minutes, until lentil are soft. Stir in the greens, cover and cook for an additional 5 minutes until tender.

Serves 4-6.

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