Student - October 22, 2009

Autumn Gold

There's no getting round it; autumn has arrived. Misty, cold, damp, the occasional clear, bright day and ... Dutch home cooking!

Oven-baked parsnips
It's time again for proper, traditional Dutch food after all those months of foreign dishes, exotic tours de force and hip, over-priced drinks. Indeed, the shops are piled high with sprouts and smoked sausages, and pumpkins of course, now that Halloween is fast approaching.
Unfortunately, what you are less likely to see are parsnips. And yet I have a special affection for these vegetables, the predecessor of the familiar winter carrot, for the simple reason that once I've cooked them I can't wait to eat them. They are finger-lickin' good. No disgusted faces at our dinner table, no 'it's rare so I have to like it'. We tuck in and gulp them down.
Show solidarity with this outcast and turn the lowly parsnip into the Netherlands' premier autumn vegetable, the white gold of the harvest season. It is not easily obtainable, sad to say, so scour the market or visit your specialist grocery and stock up.  
Oven-baked Parsnips
Preparation time: 45 minutes
Ingredients for 4 people
750g parsnips
4 shallots - preferably red, but anything else 'onion-like' is also an option
50g butter
1 tbsp coarse mustard
2 tbsp honey
Preparation and cooking
Peel the parsnips and cut them in slices about 1cm thick. Parboil them for about four minutes. Then put the slices in an oven dish. Cover them with the shallots, cut into segments. Melt the mustard, honey and butter in the microwave and pour that mixture on top. If you like, you can also sprinkle a finely chopped garlic clove over the dish.
The dish needs half an hour in the oven at 200 degrees. / Arianne van Leeuwen

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