Thursday, February 28, 2013

Beef Parsnip Stew

I've been keeping up with my get-veggies-first, make-weekly-menu-after plan.  And it has been EXCELLENT.

First of all, who doesn't enjoy spending time out in the sunshine, browsing the farmer's market?  It is a ten minute walk from my house and has become one of my favorite parts of my week.  Peace.  That's what I feel on the walk there, the exchanging coins and bills for fresh produce, the chit chat with others, listening to jokes about redneck vasectomies...

Ok, so that last one didn't bring me peace, but it did make me chuckle in a "I feel like I shouldn't laugh but I just have to" kind of way...  and laughter is the best medicine.

So, what seasonal/new thing did I get this time?  These guys:

That's right, parsnips.

I have never had a parsnip in my life until this week.  Actually, until about three months ago I thought they were called 'white carrots'.  Silly me.

Having no idea what to do with them, I turned to my favorite resource: Everyday Food.  One of my archived magazines had a whole parsnip section.  And one of those recipes called for other items I had already purchased at the farmer's market.

And that is the beauty of shopping like this.  Peace, yes.  But having things on hand that are fresh, easy, and cheap to try new recipes is the winning part.  I settled on a beef parsnip stew and the only thing I had to buy at the store was beef.  Everything else I already had on hand.  Score.

I continued to make my meal plan for the week this way.  Asking what veggies do I have on hand? first, and what can I make with these? second. Wanna know how much I spent for us to eat for the entire week, breakfast, lunch, and dinner?  $48.  That's nine dollars at the farmer's market, plus $39 dollars at Trader Joe's.  I was shocked.  Chalk up another point for my new plan...

As for the stew?  My husband immediately said, "This is a TEN!  Feel free to repeat this one anytime!"  And later, "Babe, you MUST make this when my parents visit from Brazil.  They will LOVE it!"

I guess low prices are not indicative of low taste, but rather quite the opposite.


Recipe from Everyday Food, October 2012


  • 1/4 cup flour
  • Coarse salt and pepper
  • 2 pounds boneless beef chuck roast, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced medium
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste (from one 6-ounce can)
  • 1 pound fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1 pound parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-by-2-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, season flour with salt and pepper. Coat beef in flour, shaking off excess. In a large heavy ovenproof pot, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium. In batches, brown beef on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate.
  2. Add remaining tablespoon oil, onion, garlic, and tomato paste and saute until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add 3 cups water and bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits. Add beef and any accumulated juices, potatoes, parsnips, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cover, transfer to oven, and cook until meat is fork-tender, 1 hour. Stir in vinegar and serve.

    COST: $13.22     COST PER SERVING (4): $3.31


  1. Gorgeous photos! White carrots haha. I never had parsnips until last fall. I love them! Your stew looks hearty and delicious.

    1. A child was looking over my shoulder this afternoon and this page was up in the corner. "Wow, there's white carrots, that's so cool!"

      I guess I am not the only one, hahaha!

  2. I've never had parsnips, either :/ But good for you for trying them!! :D Did they taste like carrots? I don't think I've ever seen them in Brazil, but then again, I've never looked.

    I always use Paulo's opinions as a gauge for Alexandre's likely opinions. Since Paulo liked this one so much, there's a good chance Alexandre will like it, too! I'll have to try it (but with carrots instead of parsnips, if I can't find them!).

    Your shopping style is really good and economical if you have a set cooking schedule. I cooked like that when I wasn't working much when Alexandre was in the military. But since I teach so often at night now, I think I just need more planning (i.e., things that I can cook on the weekend and freeze, or pre-prepare). If your recipes are planned well, and if you choose sort of "themed" weeks with repeated ingredients, saving money is also possible. :)

    I wish we could talk more in person!


    1. They smell like carrots, but taste a little sweeter and tangier. Different than carrots, but not THAT different. I like them better than carrots, I think.

      I think it would taste great with carrots! I am sure Alex (as I like to call him ;) ) will like it A LOT. Paulo said it is very similar to something he likes in Brazil but can't remember what it is (I think it is just beef + veggies, probably...)

      We should make it happen! I am sure you have Skype, right? Let's make a skype date :)

  3. That looks delicious :)

    You might like to try roast parsnips sometime - I love them!

    1. I heard they were great... do you know of a good recipe for them?

  4. Hey Tiffany! I nominated you for a simple award on my blog, if you wanna do it please ***

  5. Thank you, Ana! I will go check it out :)

  6. We have extra parsnips. Showed this and a few other parsnip recipes to Dave and yours is the winner for dinner tonight! Excited to try it out.

  7. Ah, I LOVE parsnips! They are a staple ingredient in the Sunday Roast so beloved of us Brits. We roast them alongside potatoes and serve them up with roast beef/chicken and plenty of gravy. Totally delicious. Unfortunately they are unheard of here in Brazil so whenever I go back to England I do my best to track them down! Glad to see you've discovered their deliciousness! That stew looks like a great winter-warmer :)

    1. That sounds completely delicious! And for some reason, yes, very British sounding :) I think I may have to try that one of these days. Like Danielle, you will just have to learn to be OK with a parsnip free life. Sigh.


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