Rachel's Table

Parsnip + Sweet Potato + Goat Cheese = Miracle

Miracles really do happen! One occurred in my kitchen this evening. I turned a lumpy sweet potato and a bumpy parsnip into an absolute miracle just by adding goat cheese and a secret ingredient I might tell you about later.

But first let me introduce to you the owner of this miraculous parsnip. Valerie is her name and she has an acre of garden beds on her property, along with chickens (oh how I envy her those chickens!).  Valerie manages to care for this large garden and her three teenagers while working as a full-time Legislative Aide. Busy! Busy!

When Val gave me the miracle parsnip, it was still covered in dirt and smelled of earth.

Valerie's parsnip plant, or maybe it's called a parsnip bush. Is there such a thing as a parsnip patch?

The last of the parsnips and carrots from the garden

Valerie used the last of her carrot and parsnip crop wisely. She diced them up, tossed them in a pot to boil, smashed them and served them with a dollop of sour cream. She also ate them and nothing else for dinner, roasted with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Both lovely options that inspired me to try my miracle recipe.

I peeled the uber-local parsnip Valerie gave me, and also one sweet potato I had in the pantry.

Naked root vegetables

I chopped these beauties into about 1/2 inch pieces before tossing them in olive oil, salt, pepper, and a couple generous pinches of herbs de Provence. They spent about 20 to 25 minutes in a 425 degree oven. I’m not too exact on the time because I always keep checking them after 15 minutes or so.

Roasted root vegetables

At this point, enjoying them as is was a very good option, but I had visions of grandeur. I searched the pantry for some type of chicken or vegetable broth. None to be found! I guess I need to “stock” up, so to speak (ah, puns!).

No broth, no problem. I turned to the fridge for milk and butter. Curses! No milk. Not even any half and half (my morning coffee will suffer). Here’s where the secret ingredient comes in. I spied the tub of plain Pequea Valley Farms Yogurt I just bought at the farmer’s market.

After smashing the roasted parsnip and sweet potato roughly (if you want a more “refined” consistency put them in a blender or food processor) I added a couple large spoonfuls of the plain yogurt, and gave it all one final smash and mix.

Again at this point, enjoying the smash as is was a very good option, but my visions of grandeur became loftier. After scooping a perfect me-sized portion into my cute ramekins, I placed a dollop of goat cheese on top. Under the broiler the whole thing went.

What came out of that broiler was nothing short of miraculous. The goat cheese was warm and soft and melting into the browned parsnip and sweet potato smash. Like Valerie, I could make a meal out of just that. So I did.



  1. Valerie

    My parsnips thank you for a most flattering review! BTW my husband will be featuring your Blog and post on his Blog http://writing-rag.com as an example of good writing- Kudo’s to you! Speaking of my Hubby, Rogers, with his help and the assistance of my friend Elaine 12 of the 26 garden beds are planted and all are preped. I am waiting for my next batch of parsnip & carrot seeds to arrive from rareseeds.com for this years “parsnip patch”. Also the Goat Cheese on top….Brilliant!!!! – Val

    • Oh Valerie, I’m so excited to be featured by writing rag. How exciting! I’m kind of surprised because I use fragments for effect. A lot. See? I still have a post brewing about your chickens. 🙂 And (another habit I have: beginning sentences with conjunctions) if you need any help with the planting, please let me know! I can’t believe you have 26 beds! You are a miracle worker. 🙂

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