10/14/2011 01:53 pm ET Updated Dec 14, 2011

Rooting Around with Parsnips

Parsnips. Parsnips parsnips parsnips.

Just saying the world really fast makes and in repetition makes me laugh. I don't know why. And yet as cute and funny looking as they are (think albino carrots), I realized I don't include root vegetables in my life nearly enough. And why is that? It's not as if I don't like them. I just never seem to think about them. Perhaps because they are our seasonal winter-loving friends, hiding underground until someone comes along and plucks them from the earth. Maybe it's because they are starchy, somewhat tough and require some finesse and trickery to enjoy.

(I'm going to exclude radishes from the above, as they are just fine sprinkled with a little sea salt, perhaps a dab of butter, and popped into my mouth like there's no tomorrow.)

Parsnips are delicious when pureed or roasted with other root vegetables, but I'm digging this recipe I found while on a work assignment. It screams winter, and pairs perfectly with a tender, slow-cooked pork roast. Comfort food at its best.

Maple Glazed Parsnips
Use a high-quality maple syrup for the glaze. It can't be that butter-flavored fake syrup stuff, folks.

1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon mustard
2 teaspoons butter
5 1/2 cups parsnips, raw and sliced
3 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 dash of black pepper
1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley

1. Combine the maple syrup and mustard in a bowl; stir well and set aside.

2. Coat a large, nonstick skillet with cooking spray; add butter, and place over medium heat until butter melts.

3. Add the parsnips and the next 3 ingredients. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.

4. Add syrup and cook, uncovered, over medium-high heat for 1 minute or until lightly glazed, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; sprinkle with parsley and serve.

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