Creamy Apple and Parsnip Puree with Toasted Hazelnuts

Creamy Apple and Parsnip Puree with Toasted Hazelnuts
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About This Recipe

Autumn's golden touch transforms Napa Valley into a haven of harvested delights. The air fills with the scent of ripened grapes, ready to journey from vineyard to glass. As the valley's maple trees shed their leaves, adding a patchwork of colors to the landscape, I find myself drawn into my kitchen, inspired by the ambiance and flavors of wine country.

One of my favorite autumnal creations has to be the Creamy Apple and Parsnip Puree with Toasted Hazelnuts. The marriage of earthy parsnips with the bright zest of apples, accentuated by the roasted goodness of hazelnuts, is a dance of flavors reminiscent of a Napa autumn. This dish recipes a warmth that is essential for any wine country table setting. Perfect for a summer dinner idea when you're craving a hint of fall, or even as an easy healthy dinner side during the chilly days.

I always emphasize the importance of sourcing local ingredients. Napa Valley's farmers' markets, like the St. Helena's Farmers Market, are the heart and soul of authentic recipes. The crisp apples for this dish? Plucked from old orchards that dot the valley, each fruit carrying the legacy of generations of farmers. And those parsnips? Grown in the fertile soils that also bless our vineyards, absorbing the very essence of Napa. It's like bringing the valley right onto your plate.

Now, let's talk about wine pairings, the touch of magic that elevates any meal into a culinary symphony. For this puree, the buttery notes of a Chardonnay from Far Niente Winery are exquisite. Each sip, laced with undertones of melon, citrus, and toasted nuts, complements the dish's richness. But if you're seeking a fragrant adventure, the Viognier from Preston Farm and Winery in Sonoma offers notes of peach and honeysuckle that dance beautifully with the nutmeg and hazelnuts.

Speaking of hidden gems and the real wine country, let me let you in on a little secret - Rudd Oakville Estate. Nestled away from the more traveled paths, it's a haven for wine enthusiasts seeking authenticity. Their commitment to sustainable agriculture and holistic farming ensures each bottle captures the spirit of the land.

If you're planning a visit, be sure to make time for a stroll around Lake Hennessey. The serene waters, especially during dawn, mirror the tranquil beauty of Napa. While you're in the area, pop into one of the local bakeries, like Bouchon Bakery in Yountville, and treat yourself to a dessert. Their apple tarts would make a delightful sweet ending to your apple and parsnip feast.

As your home chef, I'm always eager to share the heartbeat of Napa Valley through my culinary creations. The blend of the region's history, its thriving local businesses, and the ever-evolving landscape of vineyards provides endless inspiration. This puree isn't just a dish; it's an experience, a reflection of the land and the people, the true essence of Napa. So, the next time you're looking for chef meals at home or seeking that authentic valley chef touch, remember the flavors of Napa are just a recipe away. Cheers to good food, excellent wine, and the spirit of the valley!

Hero Ingredient Spotlight: Parsnips

Parsnips, often overlooked in favor of their more popular relative, the carrot, are the unsung heroes of the root vegetable world. Native to Eurasia and cultivated since ancient times, they possess a uniquely sweet and earthy flavor profile. In the Creamy Apple and Parsnip Puree, parsnips offer a velvety texture and natural sweetness, making them the perfect complement to tart Granny Smith apples. Their high fiber and vitamin C content don't just add a nutrition boost; they encapsulate the health and vibrancy of Napa Valley's soil, a reflection of nature's bounty.

How To: Achieve the Perfect Puree

  1. Consistent Sizing: When chopping your parsnips and apples, ensure they're of similar size. This guarantees even cooking, so no chunks remain when you're blending.
  2. Blending Technique: Start blending at a low speed and gradually increase. This ensures a smoother consistency without overworking your blender.
  3. Taste and Adjust: After blending, taste your puree. Depending on the natural sweetness of your ingredients, you might need a touch more salt or a dash of cream. Personalize it to your palate.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I use a different type of apple? Absolutely! While Granny Smith apples offer a delightful tartness that contrasts with the sweet parsnip, you can experiment with other varieties. Honeycrisp or Braeburn apples can also work well.
  2. What can I substitute for heavy cream if I'm lactose intolerant? You can use lactose-free cream or opt for coconut milk or almond milk for a dairy-free alternative. Each option will give a slightly different flavor profile and consistency.
  3. How do I store leftovers? Store any leftover puree in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, warm it on the stovetop on low heat, stirring occasionally.
  4. I don't have a blender. Can I still make this puree? Yes, if you don't have a blender, a food processor or immersion blender (stick blender) works just as well. If you don't have any of these appliances, a potato masher can be used for a more rustic texture.
  5. Is this dish suitable for those with nut allergies? The toasted hazelnuts serve as a garnish and can easily be omitted for those with nut allergies. For added crunch without the nuts, try sprinkling some toasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds on top.

Tips for Success

  1. Toasting Hazelnuts: To enhance the hazelnuts' nutty flavor, toast them in a dry skillet over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. When they're fragrant and lightly golden, they're ready.
  2. Serving Temperature: This puree tastes best when served warm. If it cools down after blending, give it a quick reheat on the stovetop before garnishing with hazelnuts.
  3. Pairing with Wine: As mentioned, the buttery notes of a Chardonnay complement this dish's richness. However, don't be afraid to experiment with other wines you have on hand. The beauty of this puree lies in its versatility, allowing it to be paired with a range of white wines.

Recipe Overview

Creamy Apple and Parsnip Puree with Toasted Hazelnuts
Lily Anderson
6 servings
Calories Per Serving:
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:

Ingredients List


  • 4 medium parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
  • A pinch of nutmeg (optional)

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. In a medium-sized pot, bring salted water to boil. Add parsnips and cook until tender, approximately 20 minutes.
  2. In a separate pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the apples and cook until they are softened, about 10 minutes.
  3. Drain the parsnips and transfer them to a blender or food processor. Add the softened apples and heavy cream. Puree the mixture until smooth.
  4. Season the puree with salt, pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg (if using). Transfer to a serving dish.
  5. Garnish with toasted hazelnuts right before serving.

Share Your Results

Was it everything you dreamed it could be? Let me know how it turned out for you and share a picture on social media with the hashtag #LilyCooksNapa

Hello and welcome to Napa Home Chef! We're thrilled you're joining us to explore the vibrant world of wine country cooking. Our team has crafted bold, creative recipes inspired by Napa Valley's lush landscapes, bountiful harvests, and world-renowned wines. We hope you enjoy the journey with us!

Get ready to experience the rich flavors and unique culinary delights that embody the essence of wine country living. Happy cooking!

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