A mashed medley of root vegetables is a tasty alternative to mashed potatoes. (Try it at Thanksgiving.) This recipe is highly variable in that you can use any combination of root vegetables, such as carrots, parsnips, turnips, rutabegas and potatoes. This week, I had sweet orange carrots and spicy white “Tokyo Market Turnips” on hand, and so I used this duo of veggies for my mash.
Roasting is my favorite way to prepare “fun” root vegetables like parsnips and turnips because it intensifies the flavors and coaxes out their natural sweetness. I found plenty of “root vegetable mash” recipes, but none that called for roasting the veggies first (they all called for boiling them). So I used a recipe that I found but roasted the turnips and carrots instead of boiling them.
Did I notice a difference? Yes. I used an electric hand mixer to mash/whip the vegetables, and I discovered that the outer roasted parts of the turnips and carrots did not blend in with the softer, inner parts of the vegetable pieces. The result was a smooth mash base with lumps of roasted veggie goodness. A “rustic” mash, if you will. To me, this was the best of both worlds: small chunks of roasted carrots and turnips enrobed in a carrot-turnip purée. If you would prefer a smoother mash, then, by all means, boil the root vegetables. But if a mash with rustic lumps of roasted veggies sounds good to you, then please try my variation!
rustic mash of roasted root vegetables
serves 6 – 8 as a side dish
( adapted from Tyler Florence’s recipe, “savory mashed root vegetables” )
8 cups chopped root vegetables (carrots, parsnips, turnips, etc.)
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup half-and-half or heavy cream
3 tablespoons butter
a few sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Chop the medley of root vegetables into uniformly sized pieces. In a large mixing bowl, toss the veggies with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Spread the veggies onto a baking sheet and bake them for 35 minutes or until the edges appear caramelized and the flesh pierces easily with a fork.
Meanwhile, combine the cream, butter, thyme and bay leaf in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until the butter melts. Then, lower the heat to keep the liquid warm and to infuse it with the thyme and bay leaf flavors. (Stir frequently to prevent scorching.)
Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs from the heated cream with a slotted spoon. Transfer the roasted root vegetables to a large mixing bowl and add the warm cream mixture.
Then, use an electric hand mixer or potato masher to mash the veggies and combine them with the cream. The result will be lumpy in a delightfully rustic, delicious way!
I paired the rustic mash with sautéed shitake mushrooms for a delicious vegetarian dinner.