Parsnip risotto

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What to do with all the parsnips. A plight suffered by many with a UK veg box. Soup, curry, roasted. Then what? At one point last week, I had about 10 in variant states of freshness due to a pile up from the weekly veg box. They last a long time if left in the fridge. 

I have previously made a Jerusalem artichoke risotto, which was decadent and delicious. Parsnips though a very different flavour have that same sweet creaminess. It is also used up a lot in one go. Some of the parsnips are pureed (the ones that are already questionably soft) to stir into the rice at the end of cooking. Some are diced and cooked along with the rice and a small amount are fried or roasted (use the freshest) to make crisps. This creates several different textures, which makes for a more interesting risotto. You could also try this with peal barley or spelt instead of rice for a change. 

It is almost compulsory to make too much of this so that you can make arancini. Leave overnight in the fridge and the next day, roll the remainder into golf sized balls (optionally stuff with cheese or left over puree) pané, fry and serve with a simple marinara sauce the next day.

For all parents, the leftover puree makes a great baby food. Just portion some off before you add the salt. 

Serves – 4

Time – 1 hour (including prep and cooking) 

Utensils

  1. High sided large saucepan
  2. A milk pan (otherwise known as a small, high sided saucepan) 
  3. Blender / stick blender (a potato masher if you do not have either) 
  4. Sharp knife 
  5. Slatted spoon 
  6. Wooden spoon     

Ingredients

  1.  Parsnip puree

2 leeks or 1 white onion roughly chopped

2 garlic cloves finely chopped 

1 stick celery roughly chopped 

3 parsnips peeled and diced 

50 ml olive oil or 1 large tbsp butter 

400 ml milk (if using a plant based milk, oat is the best) 

1 tsp salt 

1 tsp grated nutmeg 

5 tbsp cream (if making vegan, use oatly cream or other non flavoured cream)

2. Crisps

500 ml vegetable oil

1 parsnip 

Sea salt to sprinkle 

3. The risotto 

400g Arborio rice

1 tbsp butter or 50ml olive oil 

1 large white onion finely diced 

2 cloves of garlic finely diced 

1 or 2 parsnips diced into cubes 

1 litre of vegetable stock 

1 glass of dry cider 

3 level tsp salt

4. To serve

  1. Pumpkin seed oil 
  2. Wild garlic, chives or spring onion (green parts) or 3 cornered leek very finely sliced 
  3. Finely grated hard cheese 

Make the Puree 

Add the oil or butter to the pan and fry the onion, garlic and celery for a few minutes. Add the parsnips and gently cook, stirring occasionally until soft. None of the vegetables should be coloured.  Add the vegetable stock or water and salt to the pan and increase the heat until simmering.  Simmer until the parsnips are very soft (approximately 10-15 minutes depending on the initial state of your parsnips). 

Once ready, add the nutmeg and cream and blend until you have a thick and creamy puree. If it is too runny, put the puree back in the saucepan and reduce it to the consistency of a thick soup. Add a little milk or water if it is too thick. 

If you are using a masher, mash before you add the cream and then stir in the cream. at the end.

Set aside until after you have cooked the risotto.

Make the crisps 

Do this at the same time as making the puree. Add the oil to a small high sided saucepan and warm until it reaches approximately 185 C. if you do not have a thermometer, add a small piece of parsnip and once it sizzles the oil is ready. 

Using a peeler, shave as many pieces off the parsnip as you can. Add to the oil small batches so as not to overcrowd and fry until dark golden brown and crisp (about 45 seconds). Remove from the pan with a slatted spoon. 

A healthier option would be to toss the parsnip shavings in ghee or olive oil and roast on 160 C for approximately 20 minutes turning them every 5 minutes or so. Make sure they are very brown and dry before taking them out of the oven, otherwise they will go soft. 

Put them on a plate with some paper underneath them to absorb any excess oil, sprinkle with salt and set aside. 

You can funnel the oil back into a jar or bottle to reuse again. 

Make the risotto 

Add the oil to the pan followed by the garlic and onion, gently fry on a low heat for a few minutes before adding the cubed parsnips. Once everything is softened, add the rice and the salt. Increase the heat to medium, add the glass of cider and stir until almost completely absorbed. 

Keep the pan on medium heat and start adding the stock a bit at a time and stirring the risotto until almost completely absorbed. Keep doing this until the rice is a creamy but still a little al dente. It should take about 25 minutes. If you run out of stock, use water. Do not have the heat up high for this, otherwise you will end up with rice that is mushy on the outside and undercooked in the middle. 

Once the rice is creamy and al dente, stir in approximately 8 tablespoons of the puree, check for salt and serve immediately with the crisps, oil and suggested oniony greens. 

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