Winter farmers’ markets in the small suburb where I live are always a bit of an adventure, and I’m never quite sure what will be available. I recently was thrilled to find some lovely parsnips, but then I had a challenge: Could I find an interesting hundred-year-old recipe that called for parsnips?
I browsed through a couple 1916 issues of Good Housekeeping magazine and came across an intriguing recipe for Parsnip Balls, and decided to give it a try.
The Parsnip Balls only had a few ingredients and were surprisingly easy to make. They turned out awesomely. The balls were coated with ground walnuts which added a bit of crunch to the earthy, sweetness of the parsnips. This recipe is a keeper.
Here’s the recipe adapted for modern cooks:
3-4 medium parsnips (1 cup, mashed)
15 saltine crackers (1/2 cup cracker crumbs)
1 egg yolk
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup ground walnuts
1/2 cup shortening or lard
Peel parsnips and cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Place cubed parsnips in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Using high heat bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until parsnips are tender. Drain parsnips, and then mash. In the meantime, crush the saltine crackers to make crumbs.
Combine mashed parsnip, cracker crumbs, egg yolk, and salt in a bowl. Shape the mixture into 1-inch balls; then roll in ground walnuts. Place the shortening into a frying pan, and heat until hot. Drop balls into the hot shortening, then gently roll the balls with a fork until all sides are a light brown. Remove from heat and drain on paper towels.
And, here is the original recipe: