Best November to February
What an absolute star a parsnip is – full of soft, juicy flesh and a fragrant, sweet flavour. They are lovely plain, steamed, mashed and roasted, and one of my favourite parsnip recipes is where they are baked in the oven with Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano).
I like them best after the frosts have arrived, which really does intensify their flavour. Because parsnips are stored, they tend to go a bit woody towards the end of the winter, so enjoy them at their best between November and February.
If you can, buy small, young parsnips that don't need peeling and coring; the older, larger, late-winter parsnips need the peel taken off and the cores cut out. Then cut them into even-sized pieces and steam for 10-15 minutes, and serve with plenty of salt and freshly milled black pepper and a little butter.
For roasting, prepare them in the same way, toss in a little oil and season. Place on a pre-heated roasting tray and roast in the oven pre-heated to gas mark 7, 425°F (220 C) for 30-40 minutes, depending on the size of the parsnips. 1 lb (450 g) of parsnips will serve 4 people.
You could make this at any time of the year, but in Delia's view autumn lamb gives the most flavourful results. Serve it with plenty of mashed potato and root veg.
Who says cooking is difficult? This quick recipe is a great way of cooking several veggies at once - and roasting them retains all the flavour and nutritional value. Wonderful with the Sunday roast!
Glazing parsnips with mustard and maple syrup gives them a whole new dimension… wonderful with any roast meats or poultry or as a vegetarian dish.
This light, fluffy puree is an unusual way of serving parsnips, but the addition of nutmeg brings a wonderful warmth and spice to it. Would be fabulous with sausages and roast meat.
The combination of parsnips, apple and spices is original and truly delectable: an unusual soup that's certain to become a regular in your repertoire.
Since oven-roasted vegetables in the 'Summer Collection' were so very popular, I simply had to do a winter version. Here is it and once again it is a winner for entertaining, not least because all the vegetables can be cooked together.
Parsnips and curry spices make a wonderful combination, with the heat of the spices offsetting the sweetness of the root vegetables. This is a great dish to serve with curry or as a side dish.
Serve with Curried Parsnip and Apple Soup with Parsnip Crisps, as it extends the parsnip flavour, but it's also good with tomato or any other soup.
This recipe is in specific response to the letter I received from a vegetarian who asked if I could devise something that had stuffing, sauce and all the trimmings – so that he could feel as Christmassy as everyone else.
Coat parsnips - or sweet potatoes - with parmesan before roasting to give a lovely crunchy exterior - and the good news is that you can make these a day ahead, or even freeze them.