Like potatoes, parsnips are a root vegetable, so it makes sense to do a mash-up with potatoes. Loaded Parsnip Mashed Potatoes take on a slightly sweet, nutty flavor from the parsnips. Here they are taken up to a truly adult level with the addition of bacon bits, Cheddar cheese, and chives — prime ingredients of the beloved indulgent loaded baked potato. Omit those ingredients, and simply mash potatoes and parsnips with butter and salt, and you have mashers that kids will adore.
What are parsnips? You may have seen them in the store and thought they were some kind of giant hybrid carrot. They do look just like a giant carrot, but are off-white/yellowish in color. Long before the popularity of the potato as a mainstay starch, parsnips were at the table. These vegetables can grow to a huge size, but it’s best to select smaller ones, 5- to 10-inches in length. Large parsnips develop a woody center, just as carrots do. Fall and winter are the best seasons for parsnips, as the cold sweetens them. Check out the photo below the recipe to see what they look like.
If you are feeling particularly decadent, stir in some sour cream into these mashers along with everything else. Yum!
Loaded Parsnip Mashed Potatoes Recipe
6 small (about 1-1/2 pounds) russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
3 medium parsnips (about 1 pound), peeled, cut into 2-inch lengths, large ends cut again in half to cook evenly
1/2 cup half-and-half or whole milk
3 Tablespoons butter, or more to taste
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
4 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
2 Tablespoons snipped fresh chives
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place potatoes and parsnips in a large pot. Cover with salted water and cook until fork tender. Let drain in a colander in the sink and return pot to the burner. Add half-and-half and the butter to the hot pot and stir until butter is melted. Return hot drained potatoes and parsnips to the pot and mash, leaving some small chunks for texture.
Stir in Cheddar cheese, bacon, and chives. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Gently reheat over low heat, if necessary, before serving.
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Loaded Parsnip Mashed Potatoes Recipe Photo ©2018 Peggy Filippone