Spring

Okay, it still seems more winter like then spring, especially in the garden. That is why we preserve our parsnips right in the ground where they were growing last summer. Then in March or April, when we are craving something other then cabbage and winter squash there are these sweet yet musky treats. I like them cut like french fries, lightly oiled and salted and roasted in the oven letting some of the juicy sugars caramelize. My web guru told me about trying sublime vanilla parsnips, they sound delicious, pan fried with plenty of butter and finished with vanilla infused rum.

Does anyone have a favorite way to prepare parsnips?

And a recipe from our cookbook Chefs on the Farm, for Parsnips in Lasagna, it calls for braised ox-tails but any braised meat or no meat are equally delicious!

Oxtail and Parsnip Lasagna

This rich and warming lasagne is a great way to utilize uncommon cuts of meat- the whole beast eating philosophy. It also shows off the under-appreciated parsnip, which, when paired with nutmeg becomes glorious. This dish can be made ahead and baked off when ready to serve.

9×13 pan, approximately 12 servings

Oxtails and sauce:
4 ½ pounds meaty oxtails
4 cloves whole garlic
1 yellow onion, sliced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 cup red wine
28 ounces diced canned tomatoes
1 cup stock or water
3 Arbol chilies
2 bay leaves
1 dozen black peppercorns
¼ cup Cognac

Béchamel:
½ cup butter
½ cup flour
1 pint milk, scalded
1 teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon black pepper
5 ounces gruyere style cheese, grated
salt to taste

Parsnips:
2 ½ pounds peeled and sliced parsnips
2 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt to taste

Lasagna:
1-pound fresh pasta sheets see recipe page….

Season the oxtails with olive oil, salt, and pepper and then brown. Combine with the remaining sauce ingredients and braise at 325 F for 4 hours, covered. Pull meat from the bones, discard bones, tear meat into small pieces. Reduce sauce with meat and remaining vegetables until thick but still saucy. Set aside

For the parsnips: toss parsnips in olive oil and salt. Roast at 400 degrees until golden. Set aside.

For béchamel: in a small saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter. Mix in flour until smooth. Whisk in scalded milk, season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and cook over low heat until flour taste is gone, approximately 40 minutes. Stir in grated cheese. Set aside.

Assembly: layer parsnips, pasta sheets, oxtail sauce, alternating until all of the ingredients are used. Top with béchamel. Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees or until golden and set. Let rest for 10 minutes before cutting for service.

Cook’s Note: If making dish ahead, remove pan from refrigerator 2 hours ahead of baking for even cooking.
Variations:
Pork, lamb shoulder or beef shank would work in the braise. For a late summer meal, add in roasted eggplant and chilies in place of the parsnips.

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