Parsnip, Carrot & Chicken Casserole

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At this time of year while we’re waiting for the fresh new crop of summer vegetables to appear at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market we can enjoy some of the root crops that keep so well over the winter.  These include parsnips and carrots. Parsnips look a lot like white carrots, but they’re not quite as dense, so they cook faster than carrots. They have a mild flavor and add a bit of sweetness to a meal. They can simply be sliced and sautéed with butter,  boiled and mashed with potatoes or cut up and added to soups like carrots. Parsnips won’t be available at the Farmers’ Market for much longer, and you won’t see them again until the fall, so stock up on parsnips now. They will keep in the refrigerator for 4-5 weeks.  The recipe below is a family favorite of Sandy Arnold from Pleasant Valley Farm where you can find parsnips and carrots at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market this week.

Parsnip, Carrot & Chicken Casserole

1 pound parsnips*

½ pound carrots*

1 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons butter

6 tablespoons  flour

1 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup heavy cream

pepper

1-1.5 pound chicken*, cooked

2 tablespoons butter

3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs

Cut carrots and parsnips into 1/2″ x 3″ “logs”. Put carrots in pan with 6 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt.  Cover and boil 20 minutes or until soft.  Add parsnips and cook 5 more minutes or until tender.

While carrots and parsnips are cooking make buttered bread crumbs by melting 2 tablespoons of butter in a small skillet over medium heat.  When the butter becomes frothy stir in the breadcrumbs. Continue to stir until breadcrumbs are crisp and golden brown.

Drain carrots and parsnips saving water. Combine 2 cups of saved liquid with chicken broth to make 3 cups total.   Melt butter in pan and stir in flour. Cook on low heat, stirring constantly about 3 minutes being careful not to brown. Remove from heat and whisk in the liquid and the cream.  Return to medium/high heat and simmer 10-15 minutes to thicken, add carrots and parsnips, season with salt and pepper.  Add more liquid if it’s too thick. Put cut, cooked pieces of chicken in greased baking dish, top with carrot and parsnip sauce. Sprinkle buttered bread crumbs over the top.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until hot.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition per serving: 410 calories, 22g fat, 12g saturated fat, 90mg cholesterol, 750mg sodium, 34mg carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 21g protein.

Ingredients marked with an asterisk (*) are available at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market. For information about food and nutrition contact Diane Whitten at Cornell Cooperative Extension at 885-8995 or email dwhitten@cornell.edu.