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Parsnip Pancakes with Caramelized Onions & Sour Cream


Serves four.

These pancakes are perfect partners for a simple roast like pork, lamb, or chicken. The onions can be cooked ahead and reheated just before serving; the parsnips can also be parcooked, grated, and combined with the chopped leek a few hours ahead. 

  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 large or 2 small yellow onions, thinly sliced (to yield about 2 cups)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb. small to medium parsnips (about 6  medium), peeled (if very thick, halve them lengthwise)
  • 1 medium leek, white part only, finely chopped (to yield about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • Sour cream for garnish

In a medium skillet, heat 1 Tbs. each of the olive oil and butter over medium heat. When the foam subsides, add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft and golden, 20 to 25 minutes; reduce the heat if they brown too quickly. Season with salt to taste and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, bring 2 quarts salted water to a boil. Add the parsnips (cut them in half if they don’t fit in the pan) and cook for 3 minutes. Drain, run under cold water to cool them quickly, and drain again very well. Grate the parsnips in a food processor fitted with a medium grating disk. In a medium bowl, combine the parsnips,  leek, and egg. Stir in the flour, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper.

In a 10-to 12-inch heavy skillet, heat the remaining 2 Tbs. oil and 1 Tbs. butter over medium-high heat until the foam subsides. Shape the parsnip mixture into four equal balls. Put them in the skillet and press on each with a flat spatula to make a cake about 3-1/2 inches wide. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until browned on one side, 4 to 6  minutes. Turn the cakes over and brown the other side, 4 to 5 minutes. Flip to recrisp the first side, about 30 seconds. Drain briefly on paper towels and then serve while hot, garnished with a large dollop of sour cream and the caramelized onions.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on four servings, Calories (kcal): 320, Fat (kcal): 19, Fat Calories (g): 170, Saturated Fat (g): 6, Protein (g): 5, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 11, Carbohydrates (mg): 34, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 1, Sodium (g): 620, Cholesterol (g): 70, Fiber (g): 6,

Photo: Scott Phillips these! Made them with a roast, instead of typical potatoes. The pungent, almost peppery flavor of the parsnips is beautifully balanced by the sweet, caramelized onions. I added a little balsamic vinegar at the end of their caramelizing and reduced for a few minutes which added a deeper layer of sweetness to the onions. I think that a little fresh goat cheese instead of the sour cream would also be nice. oh... also, I didn't have any leeks so I used scallions instead. And I have to eat gluten free so just substituted rice flour for the wheat flour. Perfect!

These are "eyes-roll-back-in-the-head" good. Not kidding! We too have made this recipe several times. It's a favorite at our house.

I LOVE this recipe. I have made it several times. My kids love this too!

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