Tag Archives: christmas dinner

12 veg of Christmas – parsnip and roast parsnip recipes

Guy says
Before the arrival of cane sugar in Europe, parsnips were used as a sweetener for jams and cakes. Once sugar was introduced along with potatoes, some countries were pretty quick to relegate them to the category of cattle fodder. But the Brits kept them on as a significant commercial crop, and they are still one of the joys of winter: sweet, cheap and easy to cook. Parsnips are also slow to grow, which is good because their best flavour comes once we’ve had a few hard frosts – these unquestionably improve their sweetness, as part of the starch converts to sugar.

parsnipsParsnips have soft, porous skins and lose moisture faster than most other root veg. It’s best to leave the mud on as a protective coat. Store them somewhere cool and dark, or in a paper bag in the bottom of the fridge, and they’ll keep for a good 2–3 weeks. Usually you can use the whole vegetable, though late in the season (late February) the core might start getting a little tough, in which case quarter the parsnip lengthways and cut it out.

parsnip skordalia

serves 4-6 as a side or dip
Skordalia is a Greek side dish of potatoes and garlic whipped into a dip, thickened with stale bread or nuts and spiked with lemon. This parsnip version is good warm with lamb or mushrooms, or at room temperature as a dip for pitta bread. Parsnips are less likely to go gluey than potatoes when blended. The pungency of raw garlic is all part of the appeal in the original dish, but we recommend you add it a little at a time and taste.

parsnip=skordalia1kg parsnips, peeled and chopped into even sized chunks
1 bay leaf
400ml milk
60g fresh breadcrumbs
80g flaked almonds, lightly toasted
3–4 garlic cloves, crushed
80ml good olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
salt

Put the parsnips into a pan with the bay leaf and cover with the milk. Bring gently to the boil and simmer for 15–20 minutes, until very soft. Strain the parsnips, reserving the milk. Put the parsnips into a food processor with a dash of the milk and blend until smooth. Add the breadcrumbs, almonds and half the garlic and blend while adding the olive oil in a steady stream. Add half the lemon juice and a good pinch of salt. Check the seasoning and add more garlic, lemon juice and salt as you wish. If the mix is stiffer than you want, add a little more of the warm milk to loosen it.

Variations
* This dish can be warmed up with a little bit of spice. A clove or two added to the milk when you cook the parsnips works well (remove before you blend), as does a teaspoon of freshly ground cumin.
* If the punch of raw garlic is too much for you, take the edge off by adding the peeled garlic cloves to the milk and simmering them with the parsnips.
* Replace the almonds with toasted and skinned hazelnuts.

roasted parsnips with date & tamarind dressing

serves 4, prep 5 mins, cook 1 hour

parsnip-date-tamarind1 tbsp tamarind paste
½ tsp fennel seeds
½ tsp coriander seeds
50g pitted dates, finely chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded & finely chopped
½ tsp freshly grated ginger
500g parsnips, peeled & cut in half if small or chunks if larger
oil
1 lime

Put the parsnips in a baking dish and toss in just enough oil to coat. Season well. Roast at 190˚C for 45 mins-1 hour, until tender and browned (caramelised bits are a good thing with parsnips). Put the tamarind paste in a small heatproof bowl. Pour over 2 tbsp boiling water and leave for 15 mins. Meanwhile, put the fennel and coriander seeds in a small dry pan. Heat gently for a min or two, until you can just smell them, then grind in a pestle and mortar. Sieve the tamarind mixture and put the drained liquid in a small saucepan. Add the ground seeds, dates, chilli, ginger and 250ml water. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and bubble for 10 mins. Blitz in a blender until smooth. Squeeze some lime juice over the parsnips, then drizzle with the dressing. You can keep any leftover dressing in the fridge or freeze it.

parsnip, Brussels sprout and bacon potato cakes

serves 4
This is a jazzed-up version of bubble and squeak and can be adapted to finish up all sorts of leftover vegetables, though parsnips, sprouts and bacon is a particularly satisfying combination. A poached or fried egg or sausages would be a good addition.

parsnip-sprout-bacon-potato-cakes200g parsnips, peeled and cut into even-sized pieces (alternatively, you could use leftover boiled, steamed or roasted parsnips)
3 tbsp olive oil
300–400g potatoes, peeled and cut into even-sized pieces
200g Brussels sprouts, outer leaves removed
8 rashers smoked streaky bacon, finely sliced
polenta flour (or use ordinary plain flour), for dusting
salt and black pepper

Heat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6. Toss the parsnips with salt, pepper and about a tablespoon of the oil. Spread over an oven tray and roast for about 40 minutes, until soft and beginning to caramelise. Remove, allow to cool then roughly chop. While the parsnips are roasting, boil the potatoes in salted water until soft, about 20 minutes. Drain well and mash while warm. Keep your mash as dry as possible so that the cakes hold together; if it seems wet stir it over a low heat for a few minutes.
Cook the sprouts in plenty of salted boiling water until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well and cut into quarters. Fry the bacon over a medium–high heat with a drizzle of oil in a large frying pan (preferably non-stick) until really crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Keep the oil left in the pan to fry the cakes. Mix all the veg with the bacon and season with salt and pepper. Dust your hands with flour then mould the mixture into burgersized patties. Add the remaining oil to the frying pan, place over a medium heat and fry the cakes in batches until they are golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Add more oil to the pan if you need it. If the first cakes have cooled down by the time you have fried the last, you can reheat them all in the oven for 5–10 minutes, until piping hot.

Variations
* Replace the parsnips with roasted beetroot or squash for striking coloured alternatives.
* Use raw grated apples instead of bacon for a vegetarian option.
* Experiment with your greens: try cabbage or kale.

parsnip & beer mustard gratin

serves 4, prep 10 mins, cook 1 hour 15 mins
Good on its own, or serve with greens and crusty bread for a vegetarian supper. It works well as a side for pork too.

parsnip-beer-mustard-gratinbutter for greasing
300ml milk
250ml cream
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
800g parsnips, peeled & sliced into thin rounds
2 tbsp Riverford beer mustard
a little freshly grated nutmeg
small handful dried breadcrumbs
small handful freshly grated parmesan (or cheddar if vegetarian)

Preheat your oven to 180˚C/160˚C fan/gas 4. Lightly grease a medium sized gratin/baking dish with a little butter. Put the milk, cream, garlic and thyme leaves in a pan. Grate in a little fresh nutmeg, then warm gently. Layer the parsnips in the baking dish. Stir the mustard into the warm milk mixture. Season with salt and pepper, then pour over the parsnips. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 1 hour. Uncover, sprinkle over the cheese and breadcrumbs, then bake for approx 15 mins until golden.

parsnip, coconut, lime & ginger cake

serves 12, prep 15 mins, cook 35 mins

parsnip-coconut-cake2 large eggs
100g soft light brown sugar
75ml sunflower oil, plus a little extra for greasing the tin
200g parsnips (grated weight), approx 4 small or 2 large
100g self-raising flour
3 balls stem ginger, finely chopped
1 good tsp ground ginger
50g dessicated coconut
75g pecan nuts, roughly chopped
zest from 1 lime

Grease an 18cm round cake tin with a little oil on a piece of kitchen paper. Line it with baking parchment. Put the eggs and sugar in a large bowl and beat until thick and creamy (a hand held mixer really helps). Gradually whisk in the oil. Fold in the rest of the ingredients. Transfer the mixture to the tin and level it gently with your wooden spoon. Bake at 190˚C for 30-35 mins, until cooked through. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin.

Visit the recipe pages on our website for further recipes, or add organic parsnips to your order.

For more ideas for a Christmas rich in veg, download our seasonal booklet full of recipes and tips from our Riverford cooks and you, our customers. Available to download here: www.riverford.co.uk/christmas-veg.

12 veg of Christmas – 5 cauliflower recipes

Guy says
After years in the culinary doldrums, condemned by sulphurous memories of sccauliflower-4hool dinners, cauliflower is back; and quite rightly so. Treated kindly, this sturdy brassica is fit for a feast and is much prized in Italy, Asia and Africa – in fact most places apart from where it grows best: in the UK. Cauliflowers love our damp, mild maritime climate, particularly in the mild West. Here are a few options for making the most of it over Christmas.

5 of the best cauliflower recipes:

cauliflower, butterbeans & kale

Serves 2
A robust winter salad, this is best served warm or at room temperature so that the flavours from the dressing have a chance to infuse. For a heartier meal, eat with slices of cold roast beef or topped with a sizzling pork chop.

cauliflower-butter-beans-and-kale200g cooked butter beans
1 cauliflower, cut into small florets
100g red Russian kale, blanched, squeezed and roughly chopped
1 tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
leaves from a small bunch of tarragon or flat-leaf
parsley, roughly chopped
wholegrain mustard, to taste
vinaigrette, to taste
salt and black pepper

If you are cooking the beans yourself, add a good pinch of salt when they have become tender and let them sit in their cooking water for 30 minutes off the heat. If using tinned, heat them gently but thoroughly in their liquid and a dash of water. Lightly steam or boil the cauliflower. Drain the beans and put them into a bowl with the cauliflower, kale, capers, herbs, a generous blob of mustard and a good drizzle of vinaigrette and toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

Variation
This is a great way to use up leftover or tinned pulses; lentils and flageolet and haricot beans will all work well – or for a more varied texture try a combination of all three.

roasted cauliflower with butter, lemon and cumin

serves 4 as a side
The cumin gives this dish an Indian feel but the spicing is so subtle that it works in the most traditional of meals. The flavour combination suits roasted parsnips too.

roasted-cauliflower-with-butter-and-lemon1 cauliflower, split into florets
zest and juice of 1 lemon, plus the juice of another
80g butter, diced
2 rounded tsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground (or 2 tsp ready-ground cumin)
handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
salt and black pepper

Heat the oven to 190°C/Gas 5. Season the cauliflower with salt and pepper and spread it out in a roasting tin. Roast in the oven for 12–15 minutes until lightly golden. Cover with foil if it’s browning too much. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice. Stir in the butter, cumin and lemon zest and roast for a further 3–5 minutes, until tender but so it still has bite. Remove the tin from the oven and stir in the parsley, then add the remaining lemon juice a little at a time to taste.

Variations
• For extra spiciness add 1 teaspoon of ground coriander and nigella (black onion) seeds with the cumin.
• Replace the cumin with dried or fresh thyme leaves.
• Swap the cumin for chopped garlic and chilli flakes (or chopped fresh chilli) and the parsley for fresh coriander leaves.

whole roasted cauliflower with almonds & garlic

serves 4

whole-roasted-cauliflower1 cauliflower
olive oil for roasting
sea salt & ground black pepper
50g flaked almonds
4 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp smoked sweet paprika
1 tbsp dry sherry
3 tbsp parsley, roughly chopped

Cut off any green leaves from the cauliflower and trim the core so it sits flat in a baking dish. Drizzle over just enough oil to cover the top of the cauliflower. Sprinkle over a little sea salt. Roast at 200°C until the top is golden brown and the cauliflower is just tender, about 1 hour. Keep it warm in the oven. Put the almonds in a frying pan and heat gently until toasted. Add the oil and garlic and fry for a min or two. Add the paprika and dry sherry and cook to reduce the liquid slightly. Stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper. Present the cauliflower whole at the table, then cut into thin slices and drizzle over the almonds to serve.

saffron poached chicken with cauliflower couscous, dates & pine nuts

serves 4, prep 15 mins, cook 20 mins

saffron-poached-chick-and-cauliflower½ tsp saffron threads
2 carrots, roughly chopped
1 stick celery, roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
4 chicken breasts, skin removed

for the couscous:
1 small cauliflower, outer leaves removed, cut into florets
1 garlic clove, crushed
large handful finely chopped parsley
small handful finely chopped mint
100g pine nuts, toasted in a dry frying pan until golden
200g dates, pitted & chopped
1 tbsp sherry or good white wine vinegar
juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp good olive oil
1 tbsp honey
100g mixed winter salad leaves

Put the saffron, carrot, celery and bay leaves in a saucepan. Add 1½ litres water, bring to a simmer and add the chicken (make sure it is completely covered with water). Simmer for approx 30 mins, until cooked. Leave to cool in the pan, then take the chicken out and tear or chop into pieces. Pulse the cauli in a food processor until it looks like couscous (or chop very finely if you don’t have a processor). Transfer to a large bowl. Mix in the garlic, herbs, pine nuts and dates. Season with salt and pepper. Whisk together the vinegar, lemon, oil and honey and mix into the cauliflower. Toss in the chicken. Taste and adjust the seasoning, lemon and oil if needed. Serve with the salad leaves.

gluten-free cauliflower & almond gratin

serves 4 as a main course, 6 or more as a side dish, prep 10 mins, cook 45 mins
Keep the lighter green leaves on your cauliflower for colour and flavour. Serve with rice or quinoa and cooked kale or cabbage, or roasted roots. Using a whisk to make any béchamel or cheese sauce is easier and gets a smoother result than stirring with a spoon.

caulifloer-and-almond-gratin1 large cauli, cut in ½ then each ½ into 6-8 large wedges, keeping the stalk & any lighter inner leaves intact
50g butter
50g rice flour (or use another starchy gluten-free flour, eg. potato)
500ml unsweetened almond milk
100g grated cheddar cheese, plus a little extra for sprinkling
1 heaped tsp dijon mustard (check it doesn’t have any gluten, some do)
2 small handfuls flaked almonds

Preheat your oven to 220˚C/200˚C fan/gas mark 6. Steam or boil the cauliflower and leaves for 4 mins. Drain and put to one side, so any excess moisture evaporates off. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a pan. Add the flour and stir on a very low heat for 2 mins. Remove from the heat, add 3-4 tbsp of the almond milk and whisk together to make a thick smooth paste. Gradually add the rest of the milk, whisking all the time, until the sauce is smooth. Return to the heat, add the cheese and gently heat for a few mins, until the cheese has melted and the sauce thickened. Stir in the mustard and season to taste. Put the cauli in a baking dish. Pour over the sauce and sprinkle over a little extra cheese. Bake for 15 mins. Sprinkle over the almonds and bake for a further 10-15 mins or so, until the almonds are golden.

Visit the recipe pages on our website for further recipes, or add organic cauliflower to your order.

For more ideas for a Christmas rich in veg, download our seasonal booklet full of recipes and tips from our Riverford cooks and you, our customers. Available to download here: www.riverford.co.uk/christmas-veg.