I’m so happy to have Stephanie back from Steph In Thyme today sharing a beautiful recipe we all can make to add something special to our holiday tables this year! Gorgeous food!
My Nana tells it like it is, and I love her for it. Last Thanksgiving, she shared a revelation at the dinner table. The food, while tasty, was prepared as if the dinner were taking place at a nursing home. Almost everything was so mushy and SOFT! We scanned the array of platters strewn across the table: Mashed potatoes, puréed rutabagas, sweet potato casserole, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole. We quickly came to realize that Nana had a point. Aside from the turkey and sausage-sage dressing, the meal, particularly the vegetable dishes, lacked texture.
How did this happen? Did we become so comfortable with what we’ve traditionally cooked that our palates became numb to the culinary adventure aspect of Thanksgiving? Did we give up completely on preparing our Thanksgiving vegetables with any pizzazz and excitement?
Well, that is changing, my friends. This year, we’re embracing vegetables with texture at the Thanksgiving table.
The carrots, roasted golden, certainly fit the “texture” bill. They are soft enough to be pierced with a fork, but firm enough to be chewed (can you really even chew mashed potatoes?). The chimichurri sauce serves as both a marinade and a garnish, flavoring the carrots with a combination of parsley, oregano, garlic, and red pepper – and adding a nice flourish of color to the plate, too.
The creamy parsnip purée balances the roasted carrots, both in color and in flavor. Yes, yes, I know – it’s soft – but I say we veto the mashed potatoes to keep the textures in balance (I’m so over mashed potatoes, if you couldn’t tell).
So, what do you say? Will you embrace texture this year, too?
Roasted Chimichurri Carrots with Parmesan Parsnip Purée
Yield: 4-6 servings
*Barely modified from Michelle Bernstein, Food & Wine
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh Italian flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped
- 2 TBSP fresh oregano leaves
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 TSP red pepper flakes
- 3 TBSP red wine vinegar
- Kosher salt, ground pepper to taste
*Inspired by Chef Traci Des Jardins, Epicurious
- 1 lb parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces
- 1/4 cup vegetable broth
- 1/2 TBSP unsalted butter
- 2 TBSP grated Parmesan
- Kosher salt, ground pepper to taste
- 2 bunches carrots (about 14 carrots), peeled and ends trimmed
- Prepare the chimichurri: Pulse the parsley, oregano, garlic, red wine vinegar, and red pepper flakes in a food processor or blender until very finely minced. Scrape contents into a bowl and stir in the olive oil. Let stand for 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper (or additional red pepper flakes for more heat) to taste.
- Pre-heat oven to 425 F. Place the peeled and trimmed carrots on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour about 3/4 of the chimicurri liquid over the carrots and about 1/4 of the minced chimichurri. Toss generously with your hands so the carrots are completely coated. Arrange into a single layer on the baking sheet, then position on the oven’s middle rack.
- Roast the carrots for 25 minutes or until golden and can be pierced with a fork (but not soft, carrots should still have firmness to them al dente style). Don’t worry if you see that the minced chimichurri bits have turned dark during the roasting.
- While the carrots are roasting, prepare the pureé: Add the parsnips (already cut into 1/2″ pieces) to a large pot. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cook until pieces are very tender and can easily be pierced through with a fork, about 10 minutes.
- Drain the parsnips and let cool for about 5 minutes. Add to a food processor or blender (you may need to work in batches, depending on the size of your equipment) along with vegetable broth and butter. Process until very smooth, adding additional vegetable broth as needed (i.e. desire a thinner consistency). Scrape contents into a bowl and stir in the Parmesan and salt/pepper to taste. Cover and set aside until carrots are done.
- Remove carrots from the oven. Spread the purée into an even layer on the bottom of a serving dish. Pick up the carrots from the baking sheet with tongs or a fork so as not to bring over excess liquid. Wipe off any dark bits of unwanted minced chimichurri. Arrange the carrots in a single layer on top of the purée.
- Garnish the carrots with the remaining chimichurri (both liquid and minced bits), drizzling evenly across the carrots.
I agree that our Thanksgiving tables could use a little texture and crunch! I am in love with any carrot dish so I can’t wait to try these this year! Be sure to check out Stephanie’s blog and social media sites (links below) for more healthy and beautiful recipes!