These parsnip biscuits are a twist on the more traditional versions. Slightly sweet and fluffy, they go perfectly with Southern food (or just snack on them!).
As a Brit, I was a bit confused when I first saw biscuits on a menu in Savannah, Georgia. ‘Biscuit’ to us Brits has a very different meaning from the US one – it’s an all-encompassing term for crackers or cookies rather than a staple on the Southern meal table. US biscuits are – and I know this description might seem blasphemous or wrong to some – somewhere between a scone and a bread roll.
Biscuits have many variations, like sweet potato biscuits which are a common version in the South. I’ve experimented (like my butternut squash gruyere biscuits), but felt that living in the Northeast, I had to make a variation with parsnips at some time.
We’re getting the last of the spring-dug parsnips in our vegetable delivery box at the moment so it seemed a great way to turn them into something delicious. These parsnip biscuits have all the trademark smooth fluffiness you would expect, with a touch of spice.
You would hardly know there was a good amount of vegetable in there, but knowing there is makes it all the easier to come back for more.
How to make parsnip buttermilk biscuits
These parsnip biscuits are easy to make too. You just cook and puree the parsnip, blend the dry ingredients together, rub in the butter (or whizz in the food processor) then mix in the buttermilk and parsnip. Press flat, cut and bake. See, incredibly easy. And the result is incredibly delicious.
Biscuits are traditionally served before or alongside a meal in the South instead of bread or rolls, and we had them with some delicious slow-cooked Carolina barbecue pork, greens and corn. However while they are a natural partner to Southern food, they are also great with a whole range of foods, such as grilled meats or anything you might have bread with, really.
I was probably a bit spoiled by the biscuits I first tried in Savannah, but baking your own and eating them fresh does bring back a lot of the delicious memories and is a pretty good substitute. Plus, the smell you get from these parsnip biscuits baking in the oven is definitely worth it and a great build up to the yummy taste that follows.
Parsnip buttermilk biscuits
- 5 oz parsnip 145g - peeled weight, giving 1/2 cup puree
- 1 cup all-purpose flour 140g plain flour
- 1/2 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter 58g, 1/2 stick, cut into chunks
- 1/4 cup buttermilk 60ml
- Cut the parsnip into chunks and cook either by boiling or steaming until tender, around 10min. Blend to a puree (it's better to blend than mash as the central stem can be a bit tough). Remove any chunks that don't break up.
- Preheat oven to 400F/190C.
- In a food processor - pulse together the flour, baking powder, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Add the butter and pulse until you have fine breadcrumb texture. Add the buttermilk and parsnip puree and pulse a few times until combined and coming together but don't overmix.
- By hand - mix together the dry ingredients (as in food processor method) then rub in the butter. Add the buttermilk and parsnip puree and mix until combined, being careful not to overmix.
- In both cases tip the mixture onto a floured surface and pat out the dough with floured hands, fold it over and pat out again to give you a layer around 3/4in/ 2cm thick.
- Cut out circles with a cutter or glass, trying not to twist as you cut, and place the circles on a greased baking sheet/tray.
- Bake for around 12-15min until risen and lightly brown.
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