See? I eat vegetables. (Sorry, couldn’t resist!)
This is one of my favorite takes on mashed potatoes. It’s rich, buttery, and gets a delightfully mellow sweetness from the parsnips. Soft bits of onion add a really nice texture and contrast to the creaminess of the potato and parsnip.
If you can boil water and chop up a few veggies, you can make this dish. There’s a minimal amount of spice, which really lets the flavor of the parsnips come through.
This dish is a great companion to almost any kind of meat. I like to serve it with thick, grilled sirloins or crisp-skinned roast duck.
A note on parsnips and elephant garlic
My mother would probably die if she heard me say this, but: I love parsnips. Kind of hard to believe, since I was one of those kids who hid her asparagus behind the couch so she wouldn’t have to eat it. (What, you didn’t all do that?) But there you have it.
Parsnips look like white carrots, and get an extra bump of sweetness after the first frost of the year, when the cold converts the root’s starch to sugar.
Oh, and some of you have asked me about elephant garlic. I get it at my regular grocery store here in Boston. They keep it near the regular garlic. Here’s one clove, next to my vegetable peeler for scale. (Big, eh?)
In reality, elephant garlic is closer to being a leek than actual garlic. It has a milder, more complex flavor than regular garlic. I use it when I want a subtle garlic flavor, without the overwhelming bite. It’s perfect for a creamy dish like this.
Creamy Mashed Parsnips & Potatoes: The basic technique
Like I said, this is really easy to make:
+Peel your veggies and chop them up
+Boil them ’til soft and drain
+Mash with butter
+Infuse with cream
+Season with a little salt and white pepper
Creamy Mashed Parsnips & Potatoes
5 medium white potatoes
1 large white onion
1 clove elephant garlic
4 Tbls. butter (that’s 1/2 a stick)
1/4 cup-1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp. white pepper
Yields 4-5 cups, depending on the size of your veggies.
Creamy Mashed Parsnips & Potatoes: Peel your veggies
Set a large pot of water on the stove to boil. Then grab your veggies.
Peel the parsnips, potatoes, onion, and elephant garlic. Cut the ends off the parsnips and elephant garlic and discard them. Cut the eyes out of the potatoes.
What a mess!
Creamy Mashed Parsnips & Potatoes: Cut up your veggies
Cut the potatoes, parsnips, onion, and elephant garlic up into small-ish pieces. Make them all about the same size/thickness so that they cook evenly.
Here’s how to break down a parsnip so that it’s fairly even. Slice the smaller end into rounds.
Then divide the large end in half and cut into pieces.
Collect your chopped veggies together.
Creamy Mashed Parsnips & Potatoes: Cook the veggies
By the time your veggies are peeled and chopped, your water should be boiling. Toss in some kosher salt to taste.
Add the chopped veggies to the boiling water.
When you add the veggies to the pot, the water will likely stop boiling. That’s just fine.
Keep the heat on high and let the water come up to a boil again.
Boil the veggies until they’re fork tender. Depending on how small you chopped them, start testing for doneness after 10 or 15 minutes.
To see if your veggies are cooked through, fish a piece of potato out of the water. With a fork, crush the potato. Basically, you’re testing to see just how “mashable” your veggies are. This one here is done nicely:
If the potato isn’t completely soft, toss it back in the pot and keep boiling. After a few minutes, repeat the test. Do this until your veggies are cooked through.
When your veggies are done, drain them well.
Creamy Mashed Parsnips & Potatoes: Mash the veggies
Set your empty, hot pot on a board. Add the butter to the pot to get it melting.
Toss the veggies back in the pot with the butter.
Mash them up with a masher. (For a finer texture, you could put them through a ricer.)
As you mash, you’ll automatically work the melted butter in with the veggies.
You want them to look about like this:
The potato and parsnip should be fairly smooth, and shot through with bits of onion.
Add the cream to the pot. Add a little at a time, and mash to combine. This will help you control the consistency of the final dish. If you add too much cream and make your dish soupy, you can’t get it out again. Better to go slowly.
How much cream you use will depend on the water content of your veggies, and how stiff you’d like them to be.
Mash the mixture gently to incorporate the cream.
When they’re done, they should look about like this:
When you’re happy with the consistency, stir in the white pepper. Taste and add a little kosher salt if you think it needs it.
Creamy Mashed Parsnips & Potatoes: Serve and enjoy!
To be even more decadent, top each serving with a pat of cold butter.