Paleo Whipped Parsnips with Bacon and Chestnuts
Root vegetable love with mashed parsnips
Who needs some holiday recipe inspiration? I highly recommend making these whipped parsnips with crispy uncured bacon and roasted chestnuts. So good, people! At first, I fell in love with parsnips as part of my breakfast hash - that was until I mastered whipped parsnips. Today, I'm sharing a new combination of whipped parsnips for the holidays with an ingredient that reminds me of Christmas childhood memories.
Something Magical about Christmas
As I'm getting older Christmas and the holidays seem to feel even more magical. Maybe it is the hopeless romantic deep inside dreaming about a romantic sleigh ride, holiday lights in the trees and freshly fallen snow (even though I dislike the cold, very much), or maybe the idea of sitting by a fireplace cuddled up in a blanket? Alright, so maybe we are all dreaming of classic holiday movies in the romance section. Either way, Christmas is different as I get older. It is a special time to gather with loved ones. A time to express your appreciation for each other. Warm embraces and the celebration of love, faith, and family.
childhood christmas Traditions
When I was little, my mom always had us making some sort of garland for the Christmas tree. Some years it was made out of popcorn, others out of pretzels weaved through red, velvet ribbon. If you talk to her, she will recall how that tradition ended and the bickering between me and my brother but that is not what I remember. Later, we transitioned to a beautiful, color-coordinated Christmas tree. They were stunning! Pine garland wrapped around the wooden banister with a tree lit and decorated in the living room. The weekend after Thanksgiving, it was time to set up the tree. Dad strung up the lights, he did it the best. Mom put on the garland and then unwrapped the ornaments from the box as my brother and I hung them up. They sat back and watched. Later, it was always my job to set up the nativity. Then after a day of decorating, we would drink eggnog (I had milk or hot chocolate), sing Christmas carols, and my dad would give his yearly toast. It was something so simple, spending time together and getting ready for the holiday season.
Oh, Christmas Tree
My attention to detail and putting things together definitely came from my mom. When I was younger, one year my mom had me pick out all of the tree decorations for the family tree. I picked out beautiful blue and silver tree trimmings with glitter-covered snowflakes, blue and silver ornaments, and decorative picks to place on the branches. The first few years of being married, that was what our tree looked like. Then I transitioned to my favorite red berries. Although we are in a tiny house, I'm looking forward to decorating every nook and bringing the magic into our little home.
Now on to this paleo friendly holiday recipe
I was shopping at Trader Joe's and found peeled chestnuts on sale. Anytime I see chestnuts, I'm reminded of my dad. One time during the holidays, he brought home some chestnuts and it was a big deal. I remember roasting them in the oven and eating them afterward. It might have been a rare occurrence, I cannot remember but something about it seemed special. But either way, anytime I see chestnuts, especially during the holidays I think of him.
After bringing these home, I warmed them in bacon fat and sprinkled with salt. They weren't quite as good as fresh, roasted ones but still pretty tasty. While I was eating I thought, I know what these would go well with....mashed parsnips! And so, here you go mashed paleo parsnips topped with bacon and roasted chestnuts.
Mashed Parsnips with Crispy Bacon and Roasted Chestnuts
Recipe Type: Vegetable / Side dish
Author: Radiating Wellness
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 50 mins
Serves: 2-3 cups
4-5 medium sized parsnips
9-10 chestnuts (I used peeled ones I found at Trader Joes, you could also purchase ones in their skin and roast them.)
1/2 can of coconut cream
salt and pepper to taste
4-5 slices of uncured, organic bacon
Drizzle of cold-pressed olive oil (about 3 tablespoons)
Place 4-5 slices of bacon on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven at 400 until lightly browned and slightly crispy, about 15 minutes.
If using fresh chestnuts: Cut an X in the skin on the round side and place on a baking sheet. The bacon will most likely be done BEFORE the chestnuts. Bake for about 30 minutes until skins start to pop open and are tender on the inside.
If you use the prepped chestnuts from Trader Joes, pan fry them until warm in some bacon fat or pork lard.
Peel the parsnips. Slice and chop into 1" cubes.
In a stock pot, add parsnips and barely cover them with water. Put the lid on and cook over medium-low heat until fork tender.
Once everything is ready. You are going to save a strip of bacon and 1-2 chestnuts.
In a food processor, add the parsnips, bacon, chestnuts and 1/2 a can of coconut cream.
Blend until no lumps are left.
Drizzle in olive oil.
Season with salt and pepper to taste
Using the remaining chestnuts, bacon, and bacon fat, chomp the chestnuts into small pieces.
Then crumble the bacon.
Add a little bit of bacon fat or butter.
Drizzle over top the mashed parsnips to garnish.
If you like your mashed parsnips thinner, you can add a splash of unsweetened coconut or almond milk, or grass-fed whole milk (if you tolerate dairy).
You can also use ghee or grass-fed butter instead of coconut cream.
If you do not want to use chestnuts, here are many different ways to spice parsnips up. Add fresh herbs like basil or parsley. Create a garlic infused coconut cream sauce by warming the coconut cream with 2-3 smashed garlic cloves.
When buying parsnips they can generally be pretty small. For this batch, I found a bag at Trader Joes and they were of decent size compared to most. Because of this, if you are making them for a larger group of people I would recommend doubling or tripling the recipe. In general, a bag of parsnips serves 2-3 people.