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I was searching for a replacement recipe to mash potato, just to try something different. Even though I am a potato head, I heard about parsnip mash in Masterchef and they always make some weird vegetable into a mash so why can’t I be weird too! I found this recipe from the BBC GoodFood website titled Winter root mash with buttery crumbs and looked quite delicious and didn’t seem to difficult to make either. Although they said it’s for winter I didn’t care, mash is all year round.

Winter root mash with buttery crumbs aka Parsnip and Swede Mash (BBC GoodFood)

Serves 10

Ingredients
650g parsnips , cut into even chunks
650g swedes , cut into same size chunks as the parsnips
142ml tub soured cream
1 rounded tbsp hot horseradish (English Provender is good) (I used Spiced Mustard)
2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
butter , for greasing

Butter topping
50g butter
1 small onion , finely chopped
50g fresh white breadcrumbs (from about 4 slices)
a small handful thyme leaves, plus extra for scattering
25g parmesan , coarsely grated (I used a mix of parmesan and mozzarella)

Method
1. In a large pan of boiling salted water, cook the parsnips and swede, covered, for about 20 minutes until tender. Drain well, then mash them together using a masher or food processor until reasonably smooth but still with a bit of texture. Stir in the soured cream, horseradish and thyme and season with salt and pepper.

2. Spoon into a buttered shallow ovenproof dish and put to one side.

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3. Make the topping. Melt the butter in a frying pan and cook the onion for 5-6 minutes, until gorgeously golden. Mix in the breadcrumbs and stir to brown and crisp a little. Season with salt and pepper and add the thyme. Take the pan off the heat.

4. Spoon the mixture casually over the top of the mash. Scatter over the parmesan. (Can be made ahead to this point and kept covered in the fridge for up to a day. Or can be frozen for up to a month.)

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5. Bake at 190C/gas 5/ fan 170C for 35-40 minutes if doing from cold, 25-30 minutes if not, or 1 1?2 – 1 3?4 hours from frozen (put foil on top, and remove it for the last 10 minutes) – until golden and crisp on top. Serve scattered with a few more thyme sprigs and leaves.

Impressions

I absolutely loved this recipe, especially fresh from the oven. Although I made a slight alteration with the recipe using spiced mustard instead of horseradish I don’t think it made much of a difference.

I did steps 1 and 2 the day before since I was baking a few other things the next day too but it didn’t appear to affect the mash when I took it out of the fridge the next day. 

I think the use of fresh thyme leaves (from my garden!) made it smell so good. I really couldn’t get enough thyme in this recipe, it was used profusely into the mash and sprinkled on top and in the topping.

I also used a mix of parmesan and mozzarella as the cheese topping which I think worked in its favour. Very tasty cheese on top, indeed. The topping was cheesy but crispy and the breadcrumbs added a nice crunch too. The swede and parsnip mash was just cooked to perfection. It also didn’t seem too fattening either, the sour cream adds to this idea but since it doesn’t use all that much, it tastes very much fresh and light (well as light as a buttery cheesy mash can be). I’m definitely making this again, such a pleasant surprise.

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