5 Ingredients or Fewer

Pureed Roasted Parsnips and Butternut Squash w/ Creme Fraiche

March 24, 2010
2 Ratings
  • Serves 4-6
Author Notes

The winter squash and parsnips at our local markets have been so flavorful and juicy in the past few months. I've been using them a lot. I needed a strong tasting vegetable dish for testing a stock recipe a few weeks ago, so I naturally decided to use some parsnips I had on hand. I happened to have a butternut squash, too, so I put them together. The combination of spicy and sweet is heavenly, especially when the squash is richly caramelized. To take the edge off, while giving this brightly hued combination a luxurious feel, I stirred in some creme fraiche right before eating. A few grains of the nicest finishing salt I have was all it needed. Perfection in a bowl. Mmmmmmm. Enjoy!! —AntoniaJames

What You'll Need
  • 1 butternut squash (1 1/2 to 2 pounds)
  • 3 medium parsnips
  • 6 fresh sage leaves (optional)
  • 3 fresh bay leaves
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup creme fraiche, to taste
  • Finishing salt
  • Oil for the baking sheet or roasting pan
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cut the stem end off the squash and then cut it in half lengthwise. Don't worry about the seeds. Put the two pieces, cut side down, in a very lightly oiled shallow roasting pant. Nestle the sage leaves, if using, under one half of the squash and the bay leaves under the other. Put 3 - 4 tablespoons of water in the pan.
  3. Using the end of a sharp knife, make five or six small cuts on the upper side of each piece. Put the squash in the oven immediately. (Don't worry if it's not entirely preheated.) Check every fifteen minutes while the squash is cooking, to make sure the liquid has not all evaporated. Add more if necessary. You want to create an herb- scented broth, as well as the caramelized juices released by the squash.
  4. Peel the parsnip, then cut off the top and the inner tough core. To do this, cut the parsnip into quarters lengthwise and use a paring knife to cut away what will be triangular strips of core.
  5. Cut the quarter parsnips into 2 or 3 pieces each, then put them on a lightly oiled baking sheet and into the oven.
  6. Roast until tender, turning them once or twice. It shouldn't take more than half an hour, depending on the size of the pieces. Remove when done and put in the bowl of your food processor. Cover it with the top to keep the parsnips warm.
  7. The squash may take longer (up to about 45 minutes, or longer, depending on your oven). Check it by sticking the tip of a sharp knife into the thickest part. It's best when it's very, very soft. If your squash is nice and fresh, expect there to be a lot of gooey run off from the squash.
  8. When the squash is cooked, take it out and using a fork in one hand to stablize it (as it will be very hot, and the sugar in it can burn you, badly), remove the seeds with a sharp edged spoon.
  9. Remove the roasted squash from the skin and put in the food processor with the parsnips. Add a tiny pinch of salt and the liquid from the roasting pan in which you cooked the squash. (Add a bit more water to the pan, if necessary, and scrape down any hardened juices, and add those, too). Discard the herbs. Process for about twenty seconds, scrape down the sides and process again. Repeat this as many times as you need to create the consistency you want. I actually prefer a bit of texture, so I don't create a true puree.
  10. Remove from the food processor and stir in the creme fraiche. Add finishing salt to taste, and a few grinds of pepper, if you want..
  11. Serve warm with extra creme fraiche for those who love it. This is also nice at room temperature.
  12. Enjoy!!
  13. Note: This puree is great in curried red lentils or masoor dal, and can easily be turned into soup simply by adding the nicest chicken or mild vegetable stock that you have, plus a bit of cream or milk. It's also delicious cold, with a few tablespoons of freshly squeezed orange juice per serving stirred in. The possibilities are endless!! ;o)

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • AntoniaJames
  • Niknud
  • healthierkitchen
  • Midge
  • Rita Banci
    Rita Banci

Recipe by: AntoniaJames

See problem, solve problem. Ask questions; question answers. Disrupt, with kindness, courtesy and respect. ;o)

30 Reviews

Marcia N. November 25, 2013
Thanks for the quick reply. I will use yogurt..I think this will be great!
AntoniaJames November 25, 2013
Marcia, let the yogurt drain through some fine cheesecloth for at least 20-30 minutes before serving, to keep the liquid in it from "running off" into pools around the edges. Enjoy! ;o)
AntoniaJames November 24, 2013
Greek yogurt (not lowfat or non-fat) or sour cream or even heavy cream would work well, though I'd probably add a touch of lemon juice and zest, were I using heavy cream. It needs a bit of tang to offset the sweetness of the vegetables. If you wanted to go dairy free, I'd add some homemade almond milk but again, I'd add a touch of few teaspoons of lemon juice. ;o)
Marcia N. November 24, 2013
What would you use instead of creme fraiche?
Niknud September 26, 2011
Oh yum. Visions of Thanksgiving sides are drifting through my head....in spite of the fact that it's supposed to get to 80 degrees today.
healthierkitchen November 22, 2010
Hi AntoniaJames! I'm wondering whether you think I can do some of this recipe ahead. Have you had success with reheating if I were to make the entire dish ahead? It seems like the squash and parsnips will be easier to puree if I do it while they're still warm.
AntoniaJames November 22, 2010
HK, yes, by all means. I'd say make it Tuesday evening, but don't stir the creme fraiche in until after you've heated it through on T-Day. I've made this several times, and have always had a lot left over. I've eaten it three or four days later. But two days is what I'd do for T-Day. I'm thrilled that you're serving it! ;o)
healthierkitchen November 27, 2010
We enjoyed this very much! I had a large day after Thanksgiving buffet last night - 30+ people - and this seemed very popular. It's much lighter than sweet potatoes and the touch of parsnip is just right. I roasted off three small to medium sized squash and the parsnips on Wednesday and then refrigerated after pureeing. I did add a little stock to the pan when I rewarmed the puree Thursday evening, and then used about a half cup of creme fraiche. I can't wait to enjoy the little bit of leftovers for lunch!
AntoniaJames November 27, 2010
Thank you so much, HK! I am honored that you served this at your party, and am delighted that your guests enjoyed it. . . . and that they left a bit for you to enjoy today. I agree 100% about the squash being much lighter than sweet potatoes. In fact, I tested last week another recipe using sweet potatoes and parsnips, but ended up not serving it on T-Day, for precisely that reason! Thanks again, especially for the notes on making ahead and reheating. ;o)
healthierkitchen November 27, 2010
I did mean that I reheated Friday evening, so the puree held perfectly for two and a half days. It was a prefect counterpoint to the salty ham and smoked turkey.
AntoniaJames November 27, 2010
Good to know! Thanks so much. ;o)
Midge November 15, 2010
What a terrific combo. Saving this one for sure.
AntoniaJames November 17, 2010
Thanks, Midge! I appreciate it!! ;o)
Rita B. November 15, 2010
Parsnips are impossible to find here, but I've found the seeds so I'm going to sow them next spring: let's see if I can FINALLY cook some parsnips in my life! Going to save your recipe so I can try it next year.
AntoniaJames November 17, 2010
Wow, that makes me realize how fortunate we are to have things like parsnips, which we pretty much take for granted, available. Parsnips are a wonderful but generally under-appreciated vegetable. I hope yours grow well, and that you do try this! ;o)
JoanG October 24, 2010
Sounds like heaven!
AntoniaJames November 17, 2010
Thanks, JoanG. I hope you try it!
micki B. October 24, 2010
I just love that combo- yummy- wish I had some right now!
AntoniaJames November 17, 2010
Thanks, Micki!
lapadia October 23, 2010
Yes...I love these ingredients, nice photo and I am picturing this on the Thanksgiving table!
lapadia November 13, 2010
I made this for dinner last night, kept it on the chuncky side, it was delicious. This morning I am using the leftover for a quiche, it is in the oven right now, great aroma filling the kitchen...I know it will be tasty!
Kayb October 22, 2010
Ohhhhh, YUM! This sounds SO wonderful....and simple. Can't wait to try.
Lizthechef October 22, 2010
Sounds like the new side dish for Thanksgiving!
Bevi October 22, 2010
Providence! I just bought some parsnips, and the trusty butternut is always close by!
Bevi October 23, 2010
I made this today to go with a roast chicken and applesauce for an ailing friend. What a great, simple combinations! Thanks!
TheWimpyVegetarian October 15, 2010
I must have missed this when you first posted it too. Very nice, and I've saved to make it soon. I love the addition of the creme fraiche.
AntoniaJames October 22, 2010
Thanks so much, ChezSuzanne. I hope you do make this. It's one of my favorites, especially on these cold, dreary days. ;o)
healthierkitchen October 14, 2010
Lovely fall dish that I missed when you first posted. Will look out for parsnips - haven't seen them yet.
AntoniaJames October 22, 2010
Thank you! Hope parsnips come to your markets soon. I love them in the fall and winter. Something about their offbeat, spicy flavor just goes so well with the other vegetables of the season.. ;o)
healthierkitchen November 13, 2010
I'm planning to make this for my day after thanksgiving buffet dinner!