Parsnip Pear Purée. Say that three times, fast. Pppppp. Now join me in wondering how to make something that looks so plain -- it's just a blob of white stuff, right? -- look as pretty as it tastes. Perhaps a plump piece of pork perched upon top? and prepared for a party? Enough with the Ps. This stuff is good.
It is also one of the most unusual savory side dishes I've ever tasted -- still, it's not 'weird'. (We know how people hate weird, right? Me too.) Mostly, you take a taste and wonder, What is that? Is it nutmeg? No, it's sweeter than nutmeg, something almost fruity.
It's also a great way to use up a surfeit of pears, 12 pounds of bruised-looking but otherwise perfect fruits purchased over the weekend for $.89. Any ideas on what to do with the rest of those pears?
PARSNIP PEAR PURÉE
Time to table: 35 minutes
Makes 2 cups
1 pound parsnips, peeled, trimmed, cut into pieces roughly the same size
2 tablespoons butter
2 ripe pears, peeled, cored and chopped
1 tablespoon cognac or a liqueur (I used marsala)
3 tablespoons sour cream (I used Greek yogurt)
1/8 teaspoon allspice
Salt & pepper to taste
Cover the parsnips with water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook for 20 minutes or until soft. Drain.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt the butter on MEDIUM. Add the pears and cook for 5 minutes. Add the cognac and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Stir in the sour cream, allspice and salt and pepper.
In a food processor, process the drained parsnips and the pears until smooth. Taste an adjust seasonings.
Usually, I recommend removing the woody core from parsnips but that's not necessary here, thanks to the cooking and the puréeing.