The Book Vegetables

50. Winter Vegetables With Horseradish Dill Butter p.526

This version of the recipe makes three times as much as The Book’s, and recommends steaming the veggies for two thirds of the time.

Parsnips, turnips, and Brussels sprouts, horseradish, and dill all in one recipe? My goodness gracious, it’s almost too good to be true. The parsnips, turnips and Brussels sprouts are steamed together, while potatoes and carrots are steamed in another pot. Then everything is tossed with a horseradish dill butter augmented with a hit of cider vinegar.

I admit I cheated a bit and cooked the veggies wrapped in tin foil on the grill, but steaming is steaming right? The biggest trick with the recipe is to get all the veggies to be done at the same moment. For example, by the time my potatoes were finished, the carrots were overdone, and while the Brussels sprouts were still crisp, the turnip was a bit mushy. This is probably my fault, I don’t think I followed the recipe very precisely when it came to cutting the veggies. For example, the carrots are to be cut diagonally into 1 inch long pieces, but the parsnips were supposed to be 2 by 1 inch sticks. They’re pretty much the same shape, so I cut them into pretty much the same size chunks. The nice people at Gourmet spent quite some time experimenting with different vegetable geometries to get this right, I’d recommend taking their advice and not going it alone.

This recipe stars often overlooked and under appreciated winter vegetables, presents them beautifully, and plays up their fundamental bitter nature. I love that the recipe resists the temptation to sweeten, or add cream. The carrots and potatoes keep this from being too bitter, all the while celebrating the joys of roots. The horseradish boldly adds a tangy punch of heat, in fact I could have happily added more. The use of dill makes me think of the dish as Eastern European, and brings romantic notions of hearty Ukrainian farm families fending off the winter’s chill to my mind.

I really enjoyed the flavours and concepts here, but the execution was a bit trickier than the recipe led me to believe.


I'm a graduate student in Montreal. I spend most of my time studying drug addiction using brain imaging techniques. I'm also a foodie, exploring the culinary world both in and out of my kitchen.

6 replies on “50. Winter Vegetables With Horseradish Dill Butter p.526”

No tales of the time you spent your childhood visiting your dear Babushka in the steppes of Siberia?

No longing for Dr.Zhivago?

Really KC, Ukrainian farm families? How about middle-aged, upper middle-class foodies heading on down to their upper crust food boutique looking for these new fandangled things called “root vegetables” (now conveniently located in the “gourmet” section of the food market). And frankly, Ukrainians use dill and horseradish to mask the flavour of rotting root vegetables that have spent way too long in the dark, dank cellar during the cold winter months on the prairies. (Ok, I made that last part up, but I would hazard to say that I am right — I am of such hearty stock).

Yea, I said romantic notions. The peasants were happy toiling in the fields, barely eking out an existence ’till they were overcome by the plague at the ripe old age of 30. But who wants to think of that? It’s much more pleasant to imagine the one day a year they got to celebrate the harvest, and comfortably pretend that they loved their lives. Poverty, deprivation and regional cuisine go hand in hand. I want to think about my dinner, not the consequences of imperial domination of the breadbasket of Europe.

This is why you are working on the “gourmet” project and not the “responsible eating” project.

I’m proud of you for actually having a romantic notion, even if it is inaccurate and socially/ecologically irresponsible. Well done.

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