Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Parsnip Rutabaga question.

My Saint Patrick's day bit of luck came to me in the local produce section while shopping for our yearly Irish meal. I've always said I did not care for Parsnips. But I decided to make a well known Irish potato dish & it required purchasing some of root vegetables of the unknown type. As a kid I told my mother I hated Parsnips. I was dead certain it was parsnips I had disliked all those years ago. Strange how our minds have a bit of revisionist history at times. The long story short of it is that I found a great recipe for Dublin Parsnip Colcannon & I thought I would give the much maligned Parsnip a try once again. Much to my surprise I found that Parsnips were not the sharp tasting, bitter rootie veggie I remembered. On the contrary, I enjoyed the hint of sweet flavor the fresh Parsnips added to the potato dish. In my mind I remembered hating this vegetable, maybe it was the Rutabaga instead? If this is true then I have to revisit several root veggies I disliked as a kid! Who knew our taste buds would change as we age. Is the Rutabaga next on my list of newly acquired flavors?? No, I doubt it. Lightening cannot strike twice in my culinary world....

The traditional Irish Colcannon has a history of being prepared on All Saints Day. Traditional charms were put in the Colcannon that symbolized different things. A button meant you would remain a bachelor and a thimble meant you would remain a spinster for the coming year. A ring meant you would get married and a coin meant you would come into wealth. We enjoyed our Colcannon even if I left the charms aside this time. Colcannon can be made with a variety of greens mixed within however I opted for the Green Onion & Parsley variety this time around.

Dublin Parsnip Colcannon
1 lb. Parsnips
2 lb. Yukon Gold Potatoes
1 cup Half & Half or Milk
3 Tbsp. Salt
3 Tbsp. Butter
1/4 cup Scallions or Spring Green Onions, sliced green tops with small amount of white bulb.
1/4 finely chopped flat leaf parsley

Scrub & peel the parsnips & potatoes, cover with cold water then add salt. Bring to a boil in large saucepan, When the potatoes are almost cooked, heat the milk or half & half bring to a simmer, add scallions along with the parsley & remove from heat. Once the potatoes/parsnips are tender, drain water and mash well. Slowly stir in the warm milk & parsley/scallions mixture. Stir just until fluffy & well blended careful not to over beat the potatoes. (I have on occasion used the electric blender to help whip my mashed potatoes however they can get sticky & gummy quickly with this method.) Serve immediately in a hot dish with the Butter placed into the center of the Colcannon. Colcannon might also be prepared ahead & reheated later in the oven at 350* for about 20 minutes.

My Irish Ancestors never had the ease of Corned Beef in a crock pot. With a busy St. Patrick's Day I was thrilled to be able to turn on the crock pot & walk away for several hours. The traditional Corned Beef Easter Sunday meal was eaten after the Lenten fast, with fresh cabbage & some form of potatoes. Now most American born of Irish heritage connect Saint Patrick's day meals with Corned Beef. however I am certain I speak for most when I say that we eat better on St. Patrick's Day than most of our Irish ancestors did. I somehow think my Irish Grandfather would have loved the fact that I cooked my Corned Beef this year with a bottle of Mexican Beer. He lived much of his adult life in San Antonio Texas & loved the cuisines of the culturally diverse town. Buen Provecho, my friends & the luck of the Irish be with you this year. For a peek at what Irish dessert we enjoyed check out the Irish Apple Tart here:

Crock pot Corned Beef
4-5 lbs Corned Beef Brisket
2 medium Onions, peeled and quartered
1 clove of Garlic, crushed
1 Bay Leaf (or two small ones)
1 packet of Corned Beef spices, usually included with Corned Beef
1 Bottle of Sol, Mexican Beer, of course any beer will do.

Place 1 well trimmed Corned Beef into Crock Pot, sprinkle the Corned Beef with the pickling spices (about 1 Tablespoon), garlic, toss in onion wedges & then cover with beer. Cook on High for 5-6 hours. 5 hours for 4 lbs & 6 for 5 lbs. See crock pot instructions for leaving it at low for a longer time period. Remove from heat, rest & slice in 1/4 inch slices. We served this with our Parsnip/Potato Colcannon & glazed carrots. Chilled this brisket makes excellent sandwiches. FYI, this Crock Pot meal was almost a no show for St. Paddy's Day. My Crock Pot died after a short life of slow cooking at my house & I had to rush next door to borrow my neighbor's crock pot. A big Thank You for the Desselles!! The moral of the story remains do an equipment check when the family is coming for dinner!

An Irish blessing-
May the sound of happy music
and the lilt of Irish laughter
fill your heart with gladness
That stays forever after.

The Toujouse Bar, Treemont House Galveston Texas. In the heart of Galveston Island's Strand Historic District.


Taos Sunflower said...

Thank you so much for these great recipes! I was at the grocery today and scored lots of packages of corned beef they had marked down...great freezer items. I was trying to think of a non-brainer way to do this...the crockpot (con cerveza) is perfect!

Dee said...

Taos Sunflower, smart you are to score those briskets today! Bravo! Con Beer is always great!

Cinnamon-Girl said...

Your version of colcannon looks excellent! I think rutabagas are bitter - or maybe I'm thinking of turnips!? I bet your corned beef was delicious - great idea to cook it in the crock pot. And what nice neighbors!

Dee said...

Cinnamon girl, you are right. I do have wonderful neighbors & they really rescued the crock pot corned beef. Turnups are one of those bitter veggies I am likely to eat raw but not cooked. I too think it often has a bitter flavor.

Tangled Noodle said...

The last time I had parsnips, it was mashed and I thought it was potato, so I took a huge scoopful. Oops. I have to admit that I haven't had it since then, but your post and this Dublin Parsnip Colcannon have me rethinking my bias!

We had slow cooker corned beef, too, though I used the expected stout. I don't see why I can't make corned beef after St. Paddy's Day, especially with Mexican beer - awesome!

Angie's Recipes said...

The combination of potatoes and parsnip sounds really perfect! I probably would cook colcannon with Kohlrabi...

Hornsfan said...

I love that you fed us all parsnips and I was the only one out of six that knew it! Quite funny to me :) Actually I think almost everyone got seconds (and I saw a few thirds) of the colcannon.

Dee said...

Tangled Noodle-That is how I always remembered Parsnips as well but the fresher the parsnip the sweeter. I read recently that Parsnips actually sweetened things prior to the wide use of Sugar in kitchens.
Angie-Kolrabi sounds very nice!
Hornsfan-I know, who knew they would like those parsnips so much? LOL

Joie de vivre said...

I made my corned beef in the crock pot this year too. Isn't it fun to be able to spend a minute preparing a dinner that ends up so good? I didn't know the history of colcannon but I made it this year for the first time (without the parsnips). I liked it soooo much better than the traditional boiled cabbage my mom would make.

mangocheeks said...

Thank you so much for inviting me over. I have to admit I have never heard of Dublin Parsnip Colcannon (and it is a recipe I am going to keep logged in my head for next year and maybe make them into individual cakes). I was really interested to read the history of the colcannon and the charms. I really did not know any of that. You know what my husband said 'What happens if you got all the charms?' Just ignore him, there are days when I have to.

It is so funny how our tastes change, I have to admit I am still not a big fan of parsnips, I actually do find them sweet, but I am learning to appreciate them a lot more, along with sprouts, aubergines and beetroot.

I know its belated, but Happy St Patrick'd Day to you and your family and your readers.

Anonymous said...

Parsnip Colcannon sounds fabulous and so good with corned beef! Delicious meal!

Mary said...

I am loving the recipes you've shared with us today. I found your blog by chance, but now that I've found you I'll be back often.

Dee said...

Joie de vivre-Thank you so much. It was wonderful to spend so little time on such a good communal meal:) *I am still smiling at the "pupcakes", so sweet!
mangocheeks-I love your husband's question. Quite right he is, a quandry one would have to have all the charms in one serving! ha!
5 Star-Thank you so much for your visit & kind comments.
Mary-Thank you for visting, I enjoyed your blog.

theUngourmet said...

I'm so glad you gave parsnips another go. This looks fantastic! I've only seen Colcannon with cabbage. I'd love to try this version too! Such a nice St. Paddy's Day meal!

The Blonde Duck said...

I've never had a parsnip!

Pam said...

Oh, like the colcannon! I've never made it with parsnips but it sounds delicious to me! Love your Avitar!

Heavenly Housewife said...

Parsnip colcannon is such an unusual twist, but I really like it. Hubby loves colcannon.
My new blog went up today and I am so excited. Stop by and check out my brand new and improved site daaaahling. I want to know what you think. I'm also doing a fab give away.
*kisses* HH

Jill said...

The Tremont is the only place we stay when visiting Galveston. Love it! The Bougainvilla suite!!