3.17.11 Discover Your Roots

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photos by gluttonforlife
For those of you not lucky enough to be eating your own corned beef tonight, here's a quick peek at how mine turned out. Overall, I'm quite satisfied. The meat was just the right balance of tender but firm. It was a gorgeous pink, perfumed by the spices and very buttery from that extra layer of fat that my butcher did not remove. (Thanks, Jake!) I let the vegetables get a tad soft perhaps, but they have a melt-in-your-mouth quality that is irresistible. It makes me realize that I do not eat enough velvety cooked cabbage. Both the sauces—coarse-grained mustard with shallots and a dash of stout, and creme fraiche with horseradish and chives—are addictive and the perfect pungent, spicy counterpoint to the rich meat. The one surprise was the broth: copious amounts of it (so much so that I'll be using it to make beans), and delicious poured over the whole dish. Served in a broad pasta bowl, everything can run together into one delectable hot mess. Would love to hear how anyone else's turned out.If you thought we were done with root vegetables—not so fast! After all the squash soups and mashed parsnips and potato-leek gratins and beet salads, I came across a root previously unknown to me: parsley root. Have you encountered it? Apparently it's big with Eastern Europeans and Jewish grandmothers.
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rooting around
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tastes like celery + turnips + parsley
It's from a different type of parsley—though equally edible—which produces much thicker roots than the types cultivated just for their leaves. Known variously as Hamburg root parsley, Dutch parsley, turnip-rooted parsley, rock selinen and rock parsley, it has a long history of use in soups and stews during dreary winters in Holland, Germany and Poland. It can also be served fresh in salads, or even fried. Its delicate, slightly sweet flavor is reminiscent of celery, turnips and, of course, parsley. The leaves, often sold attached (and hopefully feathery fresh and bright green), are quite similar to the flat-leaf parsley you know and love, and can be used much the same.Try mashing a couple of roasted or boiled parsley roots with your Yukon Golds. Make a fresh salad with grated parsley root and celery root, dressed with lemon juice, horseradish and little walnut oil. Or use this recipe from Saveur for a delicious Chicken and Parsley Root Salad, to eat as a sandwich or over greens. Other good pairings with parsley root: barley, beets, cabbage, chicken soup, oxtail, other root vegetables, shallots, sweet potatoes and thyme.
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rooted in eastern european tradition
Here's a recipe from Marcus Samuelsson's New American Table that promises delicious results.ROASTED PARSLEY ROOT STEWserves 6Juice of 2 lemons1 cup long beans or green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces3 cups peeled 2-inch cubes parsley root or celery root2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts, chopped3 tablespoons olive oil4 cloves garlic, chopped1 tablespoon chopped thyme2 tablespoons maple syrup2 tablespoons unsalted butter1 teaspoon coarse salt2 tablespoons soy sauce1 tablespoon chopped parsley2 tablespoons chopped mintBring half of the lemon juice and 2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add beans and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from liquid with a slotted spoon; set aside. Add parsley root to liquid and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.Add olive oil to skillet and heat over medium heat. Add garlic, thyme, and parsley root; cook, stirring, until garlic is golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in maple syrup, butter, remaining lemon juice, and salt; cook for 2 minutes. Stir in soy sauce, parsley, mint, beans, and toasted pine nuts. Toss to combine and cook until just heated through.
 
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2 Comments

My corned beef was unusual owing to the fact that I got a late start and had to cook at too high a temp at the end, neglected to add enough liquid at the start, and only had red cabbage on hand so it was a ruddy ruby red color. And although my husbands Irish immigrant ancestors are all rolling in their graves because of it (because bright green or raw vegetables are just not de rigeur, even on St P day) I served it with a nice arugula salad. The slight bitterness was a good contrast to the briney corned beef. Now using the broth for beans. what else should I add?
Elizabeth on March 18, 2011 at 9:26 am — Reply
Elizabeth: The red cabbage actually sounds like a nice touch! Did you make your own corned beef or buy it? Probably too late to weigh in on your bean dish, but there's always this recipe, or this one, although since the broth is so beefy and highly flavored, you might not need to add any bacon or ham. Maybe a little mustard stirred in could be nice...
laura on March 18, 2011 at 6:31 pm — Reply