Alison's Lunch

wine-braised lentils with parsley root & potato puree

parsley root & potato puree (or, for the less adventuresome, call it mashed potatoes with parsley root)

I had never tried parsley root until last fall at the farmers’ market, when I bought some from Rempel Family Farms. Mashing the parsley root with russet potatoes made the richest, most delectable and delicious mashed potatoes I’ve EVER eaten—and all that without a smidgen of butter, milk, or cream! Just using the stock from cooking the vegetables works really well instead of milk or cream, because it’s so flavorful from the parsley root!  Just season to taste with salt and pepper—the vegetables have lots of flavor all on their own. But of course, you can gild the lily if you like, and add butter, milk, or cream. As you wish!  This recipe is based on one in Deborah Madison’s Local Flavors.

½ pound or so Alaskan parsley root (or substitute celery root or turnips)
1-2 pounds Alaskan russet potatoes (you can use Yukon Golds if you like, though)
sea salt and freshly-ground pepper
butter, milk, half-and-half, or cream (optional)

1. Peel the parsley roots. Scrub the potatoes, and decide whether you want skins in your mash or not. I like to leave the potato skins on, but if you want a perfectly smooth puree, definitely peel them first. Coarsely chop the vegetables and put them in a saucepan, cover with water, and add 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the vegetables are tender (15 to 20 minutes). Scoop the potatoes and parsley roots out (or strain them in a colander), but MAKE SURE TO RESERVE THE COOKING LIQUID!
2. Return the vegetables to the pan and mash them, using the reserved cooking liquid to thin and loosen the mixture as needed. When smooth, add salt and pepper to taste. 
3. Serve right away with your favorite stew or gravy…  I’d suggest the wine-braised lentils!

wine-braised lentils

This recipe is one of my favorites… I love it over toast with sautéed spinach, but best of all is alongside a puree of parsley root and potatoes. These lentils are rich, flavorful, and wonderful, and they are beautiful, too, with the carrots and celery. They’ll taste even better the next day, and you can freeze them for later if you like. This recipe is based on one in Vegetarian Suppers from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen

1 ½ cup French green lentils
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups diced Alaskan onions
2 cups diced celery
2 cups diced Alaskan carrots
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups dry red wine
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
sea salt or kosher salt
freshly-ground pepper
for garnish: chopped Italian parley

1. Parboil the lentils for 5 minutes in abundant water, then drain.
2. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan or soup pot. Add the diced vegetables and cook over medium-high heat for several minutes, browning them a bit. Add the garlic, mash the tomato paste into the vegetables, then pour in the wine and stir in the mustard. Add 3 cups water, the drained lentils, and 2 teaspoons salt. Simmer, covered, until the lentils are tender, 30 to 40 minutes.  Add more water, to your taste, depending on how soupy you’d like them to be.
3. Serve with mashed potatoes (or mashed potatoes with parsley root), and sprinkle the parsley over all.