Duck Fat Roasted Parsnips with Thyme: Day 9 of Whole30

Duck Fat Roasted Parsnips with Thyme
It’s day 9 and I’m starting to get a bit jaded. There are only so many variations on meat and vegetables you can handle before you start to crave something different. This is where my parsnips came in to save the day yesterday.

Slashing a number of food groups out of your diet isn’t easy as you have to funnel all your creativity into quite a narrow focus. I am now starting to look beyond the simple salads and greenery that I have been relying on for the past 9 days and that has now led me to re-examine parsnips. This is a root vegetable I have always liked but for some reason they don’t appear in my kitchen at any other time save Christmas where they are lumped in with the roasties.

I thought I would introduce the parsnip into my diet this week in its most simple form as it is how I have always cooked them, roasted with duck fat. What the Whole30 lacks in food group variety, it makes up for in the quality of the foods you are allowed and including duck fat as part of a healthy eating plan seems a little excessive but it’s as natural a cooking agent as you will get. It was also sheer happenstance as I had a huge jar of it knocking around my fridge from a duck we had roasted for Sunday lunch a couple of weeks ago.

I accompanied the parsnips with a simple roast chicken, steamed kale and carrots. It was nice to give a bit of an occasion to the parsnips, letting their sticky sweet earthiness shine through the other humbly prepared veg. It was hardly the most summery of dishes but then as I look outside this is hardly the most summery of Mays.

Duck Fat Roasted Parsnips with Thyme  |  Stroud Green Larder

Duck Fat Roasted Parsnips with Thyme
Serves 2 as a side

4 parsnips
2 tbsp duck fat
A couple of sprigs of thyme

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Peel the parsnips, then cut into three pieces widthways.  Then cut the pieces in half lengthways.
  3. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil then add the parsnips. Bring back to the boil then turn down to a simmer for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Place the duck fat on a baking dish into the oven to melt and warm it up.
  5. Drain the parsnips then tip into the baking dish with plenty of salt, black pepper and a couple of sprigs of thyme, turn so every parsnip is completely coated with the duck fat.
  6. Roast for about 45 minutes, turning the parsnips over a couple of times, until they are golden.

Roasted Aubergine and Courgette with Sumac and Herbs

Roasted Aubergine and Courgette with Sumac and Herbs

Today I was very excited to make a silky warming butternut squash soup.  It was exactly what I was hankering for.  I took the stock out of the freezer last night, leered over the butternut in eager anticipation and fished out the chipotle from the very back of the cupboard.  I used a ladder and everything.  It was all systems go.  And then I smashed my kitchenaid blender.  I still don’t understand how as the glass on those things is about an inch thick.  But it briefly kissed the surface of my ceramic sink and shattered like the fragile heart of a tween.

So, basically, you are not getting soup and I’m getting a new blender.

courgette and aubergine3So stepping up to the plate is one of my absolute faves.  It’s probably the one I make the most often of a weekday.  So easy to throw together in the roasting tray straight after work.  Whack it in the oven, have a sit down with a glass of sparkling water, as it’s January, then serve with anything you like.  I have it the most with grilled lamb chops.  It might also be even better the next day taken out of the fridge and brought up to room temperature to have at your desk for lunch, I would never bother re-heating this.  I have eaten it with leftovers, with roast chicken, with garlicky yoghurt drizzled generously over and taken it to picnics.
courgette and aubergineDue to the amount of oil that the aubergine soaks up it’s very rich and so you don’t need a great deal, not that I usually let that stop me.

Oh, and the best thing about this dish… it doesn’t require a blender.

Roasted aubergine and courgette2Roasted Aubergine and Courgette with Sumac and Herbs

2 aubergines
2 courgettes
60ml olive oil
¾ tsp sumac
10g mint leaves, roughly chopped
10g coriander leaves, roughly chopped
10g parsley leaves, roughly chopped
Wedge of lemon

  1. Top and tail the aubergine and courgette and then cut each one in half widthways. Halve each again lengthways and then cut into 16 wedges in total.
  2. Toss the wedges in the olive oil, sumac and plenty of seasoning and place in an oven pre-heated to 180°C. Roast for 30-40 mins, checking halfway through to give a good mix around.
  3. Once the aubergine and courgette are soft, lightly browned and slightly crispy at the corners then remove from the oven. Mix together with the herbs, squeeze the lemon wedge over and serve.