This time of year Thanksgiving is on any food lover (or CSA member’s) mind! This dish is the perfect CSA inspired side, kale and parsnips are given the traditional creamed spinach treatment. While there are a few extra steps to the prep, this comes together fairly quickly. It’s savory and satisfying, like any comfort food should be.
I like the texture of the onions cut into rings, parsnips are an odd shape to cut uniform. Try slicing the thicker end and then cutting the thinner end lengthwise to get somewhat uniform pieces that will cook evenly. The kale should be bite size.
Most of the vegetable stock that’s used to simmer the parsnips will be absorbed back in. Curly kale is really sturdy, so you’re not really blanching it here. Boil it for at least 2 minutes, drain, and squeeze very dry. You want to make sure it’s tender, and cook it in salty water so that it absorbs some of the flavor. When the parsnips and kale are cooked, you’ll make the sauce.
In the interest of saving space and some dishes in the kitchen, I transferred the parsnips and kale into a large bowl, then made the sauce in the skillet and returned everything to the pan to combine it. This is a basic béchamel, sub any gluten free flour for the wheat flour if you need to. Throw in a handful of parm or gruyere at the end if you like or try adding garlic.
Creamed Parsnips & Kale
4 tablespoons butter
2 large parsnips cut into uniform pieces
1 small onion thinly sliced
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 teaspoon chopped thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 bunch kale, cleaned and cut into bite size pieces
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
Cook the parsnips. In a large, deep skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the parsnips and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the stock and thyme and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper, cover and simmer over low heat until the parsnips are tender, about 8 minutes. Transfer the parsnips to a large bowl, and wipe skillet clean.
Cook the kale. Fill a large, deep pot with water and a tablespoon of sea salt, bring to a boil. Add the kale and cook for about 2 minutes. Drain and cool under running water. Squeeze completely dry with a clean towel. Stir the spinach into the parsnips.
Make the sauce. In the pan you cooked the parsnips in, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and cook over moderately high heat until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking, for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and mustard powder, season with salt and pepper. Cook the sauce, whisking constantly over medium heat for about 6 minutes or until thickened. Taste and adjust seasoning. Remove from heat and mix the parsnips and kale into the sauce.