I always like making dishes that combine or use ingredients that one would normally not think of for the particular recipe involved. In this case I was attracted to the idea of using parsnips, and consequently, other roots, as the base for a creamy dip or spread. Especially when the parsnips were combined, in the original recipe, with feta cheese. I like to serve this with sticks or rounds of other, raw, roots (beets are especially good), though any way you’d serve a dip is good. I do find that, when chilled, the dip hardens somewhat and is better if brought back to room temperature or even gently heated. Try this with carrots, celeriac, turnips and other roots, alone or in combination.

2 c unpeeled or peeled, chopped parsnips (1″ or so pieces); or other root(s)
3  unpeeled garlic cloves
2 T vegetable oil, plus extra if needed
3/4 c crumbled feta, blue, goat or other creamy cheese
1/2 – 3/4 c heavy cream, half-and-half, or milk
ground black pepper, to taste
chopped fresh parsley, for garnish, optional
sweet paprika, for garnish, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Toss chopped parsnips and unpeeled garlic with the oil. Spread on a baking sheet. Roast for about 20 minutes, then remove from oven and flip the pieces around. Return to oven and roast another 10 to 20 minutes until the parsnips are very soft and golden. Don’t let the parsnips get too brown and hard as they won’t purée very well.

2. Remove from oven and allow to cool some. Transfer to a food processor along with the cheese, 1/2 c of the cream, and pepper. Process until desired consistency, chunky or smooth is reached, adding more cream or oil if needed. Taste for seasonings. If not using feta, you may want to add some salt.

3. Scrape into a serving bowl and garnish with parsley and/or a sprinkle of paprika, if you like.