Veggies for a Chilly Winter’s Night

I’m afraid this blog has been rather neglected this winter, what with the extended vegetable harvest season, bean cleaning, pig butchering, homeschooling, Christmas preparations … and a little bit of rest and reading thrown in there as well. I am comforted by the fact that winter vegetables don’t normally need explanation – you all know what carrots, potatoes, beets, rutabaga, and parsnips are. Nevertheless, we can all use some new recipes and inspiration from time to time, and I’m hoping to be back to regular postings on vegetable pick-up weeks.

One of our staples up till now this winter has been parsnips. I know some of you love them, and some of you hate them. Maybe there’s no changing that, but there are some great parsnip recipes out there that may convert some of you. In fact, just this week I saw on the In Season In Saskatchewan Facebook group that one of our members has been converted by a delicious new recipe, which she shares with that group. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to check it out; it was set up to help people like you, who are working on eating a more local, seasonal diet, know what to do with each season’s veggies.

I also have a few parsnip favourites of my own. The recipe section of this blog has a recipe for carrot-parsnip pudding, which is simply scrumptious. Another favourite in our house is Tunisian pumpkin soup (perfect if you still have a pumpkin or two kicking around:

2 cups chopped onions

2 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 cup peeled and diced carrots

1/2 cup peeled and diced parsnips

1/2 tsp salt

2 1/2 cups water or stock

1 1/4 cups apple juice

1/2 cup tomato juice

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp paprika

1 3/4 cups pumpkin puree

Saute onions in oil until translucent. Add carrots, parsnips, and salt and saute about 5 minutes. Add liquids and spices, cover, boil, and simmer until vegetables are tender. Puree.

Top with spice swirl made by sauteing 1 tsp minced garlic in 2 Tbsp hot oil for 1 minute. Add 4 tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp ground caraway seeds, 1/4 tsp cayenne. Cook stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes until bubbles. Remove from heat and stir in 2 Tbsp lemon juice, 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, and 1/8 tsp salt.

Don’t get too excited about parsnips though, as this month’s will probably be the last for the year. They were so easy to dig in the wet soil this fall that we didn’t leave any for spring the way we sometimes do, and our current supply is coming to an end.

We do still have some squash though, which is why we sent a bonus this month. It would probably work with this soup too, though I’ve always made it with pumpkin. A new squash dish I tried this month, and highly recommend, is gnocchi made with

1 lb Belgian potatoes, cut in chunks, boiled until tender and drained

1 lb squash, baked until tender

2 egg yolks

3/4 cup flour

pinch allspice

3/4 tsp cinnamon

Pass the cooked potatoes and squash through a food mill and add remaining ingredients. Mix well to make a soft dough. Add more flour if necessary.

Bring a pan of salted water to a boil. Roll out pieces of the dough in flour to make 1/2” diameter logs. Cut into 1/2” pieces, mark each lightly with a fork, and cook (in batches) 3-4 minutes in boiling water (until they float to the top). Lift out with a slotted spoon and keep warm in a buttered dish.

Top with Parmesan cheese. Mmmm! We doubled this recipe and I imagine most families would want a double batch too.

One final note before I close: our carrots are not keeping quite as well as usual this year, most likely due to the wet harvest conditions and warm start to winter. We are doing our best to pull out any that have spoiled, but I encourage you to look yours over (and ideally even wash them right away) when you get them home to prolong their storage life.

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