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Molly Stevens’s Roasted Parsnips with Bacon and Rosemary

Molly Stevens, chef and author of  All About Roasting: A New Approach to a Classic Art,  shared one of her expert recipes with us! For more information, or to buy her book go to http://www.mollystevenscooks.com/

You know what they say about everything going better with bacon?  Parsnips are no exception.  Their mildly earthy, starchy-sweet character stands up wonderfully to the rich meatiness of bacon.  In this recipe, I roast the bacon right along with the parsnips and rosemary; the bacon gets all crispy-crunchy while lending its savory, salty drippings to the dish.  A little brown sugar and a splash of cider vinegar add sweet and tangy notes to create the perfect balance of flavors.  This is an outstanding side dish for roast chicken and beef.

Serves 4 to 6

Method: Moderate Heat

Roasting Time: 40 to 45 minutes

2 pounds parsnips, peeled

3 strips thick-cut bacon (about 4 ounces), cut crosswise into ½ inch lengths

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons brown sugar, light or dark

2 teaspoons cider vinegar

1.  Heat the oven.  Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 375 degrees (350 degrees convection). If desired, line a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.  Prepare the parsnips.  Using a sturdy knife, trim the stem end off the parsnips.  Cut each parsnip into sticks that are 2 to 4 inches long and about ½ inch thick.  As when cutting carrots, you may find that you leave the tapered bottom piece whole and need to halve or quarter the fatter top.  Do your best to cut evenly sized sticks, but there’s no need to haul out the ruler.  Any extra-thin pieces will come out crisp and crunchy, while thicker pieces will be tender and sweet.  As you cut, examine the parsnip core.  If it stands out as deeper-colored and especially coarse and woody (you can poke it with the tip of a knife to see), cut it out with a pairing knife.

3.  Season, roast, and serve.  Combine the parsnips, bacon, rosemary, and olive oil in a large bowl.  Season generously with salt and pepper and toss to coat.  Transfer to the baking sheet, spreading everything in an even layer, and roast, stirring every 10 minutes, until the parsnips are almost tender and the bacon is beginning to crisp up, about 35 minutes.  Sprinkle with the brown sugar and cider vinegar and roast for another 5 to 10 minutes, turning once or twice until the parsnips are browned and the bacon is crisp.  Serve immediately.

Reprinted from All About Roasting: A New Approach to a Classic Art by Molly Stevens © 2011 by Molly Stevens.  Photographs © 2011 by Quentin Bacon. With permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.