Does anyone even eat white potatoes anymore?
I mean, of course French fries. And next month we will be making latkes, I promise. But somewhere along the line, it seems, we came to the collective realization that it’s pointless to eat plain old mashed potatoes when we could be having cauliflower puree, whipped celery root, or smashed turnips.
Or, my personal favorite, this combination of earthy parsnips and juicy pears.
This recipe for roasted parsnip pear puree is the final one I am excerpting from The Big Book of Sides by Rick Rodgers, and it’s another outstanding choice for your Thanksgiving table.
The parsnips are roasted until they are tender and just beginning to brown in spots. Then they are whipped up in the food processor with sweet pears, softened butter, and a big splash of sherry vinegar–an unexpected ingredient that imparts a bright burst of flavor. Since I wanted my puree extra creamy, I adapted Rick’s recipe by drizzling in some whole milk.
I seriously cannot wait to smother these with gravy and cranberry sauce.
Roasted Parsnip Pear Puree
You can make this roasted parsnip pear puree up to two days in advance. Reheat over medium-low heat, stirring often.
- 1 1/2 pounds parsnips peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 ripe juicy pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 1/2 cup milk optional
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Toss the parsnips and oil on a large, rimmed baking sheet and spread in a single layer. Roast, stirring occasionally, until the parsnips are browned and almost tender, about 20 minutes. Add the pears to the baking sheet and stir to combine. Continue roasting until the parsnips are tender and the pears are beginning to brown, about 10 minutes more.
Transfer the parsnips and pears to a food processor. Add the butter and sherry vinegar and process until smooth. Drizzle in the milk (if using) and process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.