Herbed Polenta with Parsnip Chips and Maple Butter – and a feast!

by meike peters

Polenta with Parsnip Chips and Maple Butter

The past few weeks have been an emotional roller coaster. I finished my English book and happily gave in all the recipes, text and pictures 3 days before my official deadline – something that had never happened before according to Holly, my editor and it impressed her and the Prestel team in New York quite a bit. I just wanted to have everything off my desk at one point – and celebrate. And that’s what we did!

Holly came to visit us in Berlin for a few days and all we did was talk and eat (and work on the cover for my book). We showed her around the city as it was her first time here and I planned a special dinner for her with some of the people at the table who have strongly influenced me during my eat in my kitchen blog and book experience. Not all of them could make it, but to see how many came and how some of them tried to make it possible truly touched me. Molly from My Name Is Yeh wanted to come from North Dakota just for this dinner, she even checked out the flights – this is crazy! – but she had to be in the States the day before and after. Thank you girl!! Malin from The Bread Exchange came with her handsome baby boy Lode – in the early days of my blog we made sandwiches together with her bread and now we even share the same publisher (for her German book that will come out in the Spring of 2016). Marta from What Should I Eat For Breakfast Today? – my great inspiration for photography and positivity in life (this lady has the most beautiful smile!) and one of the first meet in your kitchen guests – was here to celebrate with us. And she took the pictures of us at the table, which I love because usually I’m the one taking pictures so I’m never in them. They truly show what a happy night we had, thank you Marta! Cynthia Barcomi – the founder of my favourite Berlin Deli – already had her cake for our dinner in the oven but sadly had to cancel at the last minute. Luckily, we didn’t have to worry about having enough sweets on the table anyway. My apple cinnamon crumble was delicious and looked rather rustic next to Laura‘s elegant raw chocolate avocado cake. The Berlin Tausendsuend baker impressed all of us with her composition and took us right to chocolate heaven.

It was an amazing night with amazing people that I’ll never forget. And a nice coincident gave us another reason to cling the glasses – in the same week of my deadline, my boyfriend finished the EP he produced for a fantastic artist from Australia. Josh The Cat happened to spend a lot of time at our apartment in the past few months for the production and became one of my book’s first testers. He loved my recipes as much as I love his music and we shared far more than just food and songs this year, he and his girlfriend, the gorgeous artist Phia, became close friends of ours and we’re more than sad that they’ll soon leave us to go back to Australia. But I’m sure we’ll hear more about their music soon!

Polenta with Parsnip Chips and Maple Butter

A dinner becomes special through the people and conversations at the table, it’s delicious through the right food – we enjoyed some of my book’s recipes which I can’t share with you yet – and it’s a feast when you have good wine in the glasses. I have to send a big thank you to a man from the South and fantastic wine maker who made it possible for us to enjoy amazing wine on that special night. Martin took over the Weingut Robert Bauer – which is now called Martin Albrecht Weingut – more than 10 years ago, a wine maker who’s filled my mother and step father’s wine cellar since I was a child. You could certainly call it our family wine. With a family tradition of more than 400 years of producing wine, Martin comes from the right background to continue Mr. Bauer’s philosophy of creating only the best wines  – ohne Restzucker (without residual sugar). This is wine of the highest quality, which you can smell and taste with the first sip. We enjoyed an excellent Gelber Muskateller (Muscat) with an autumny, fruity soup and an outstanding 2012 Herbstnebel (Syrah, Cabernet-Sauvignon and Nebbiolo) with hearty lamb. I love this wine! We were over the moon with our treat from the Württemberg area. If you’re looking for a wine, handpicked in old vineyards, a wine that guarantees to please your taste buds to the fullest and puts a smile on your face, get in touch with Martin through their website, send him an email, give him a call or visit him in Flein (50km / 30 miles from Stuttgart). He also offers the best vinegars I know – his Balsamic Pear vinegar is one of my favourites, you can basically drink it off the spoon. Thank you Martin!

And thank you Holly for giving me a reason to bring all these great people together at our table!

I can’t share the recipes with you from that night, we have to be a little more patient until my book comes out, but as we enjoyed a dish that featured scrumptious parsnip I decided to create a dish for you that fits the current mood of autumn and allows the roots to bring out their confident qualities – fluffy herbed polenta topped with crisp parsnip chips and sizzling maple butter.

Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this journey for making all this possible, it makes me a very happy person – and a happy cook!

Polenta with Parsnip Chips and Maple Butter

Herbed Polenta with Parsnip Chips and Maple Butter

Serves 2

For the polenta

polenta 120g / 4 ounces
water 240ml / 1 cup
milk 240ml / 1 cup
salt 1 teaspoon
olive oil 2 tablespoons

For the parsnip chips

parsnip, very thinly sliced, 200g / 7 ounces
vegetable oil
fine sea salt

For the maple butter

butter 2 tablespoons
maple syrup 1/2-1 tablespoon

For the topping

fresh rosemary, finely chopped, 1-2 teaspoons
fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped, 1-2 teaspoons
ground pepper

In a sauce pan, heat the water and milk, add the salt and bring to the boil. Take the pan off the heat, add the olive oil and polenta and whisk. Turn the heat down to the lowest setting and put the pan back on. Cook the polenta for 10 minutes, stirring and adding more water once in a while if necessary. When the polenta is thick and creamy, take if off the heat and season with salt to taste.

Heat a generous splash of vegetable oil in a heavy pan, the bottom should be covered. When the oil is hot, add the parsnip, just enough to lay them next to each other. Turn them after a few seconds and take them out immediately once they are golden and crisp but not too dark. Mind that they burn very quickly! Transfer the chips to kitchen paper and season with salt.

Melt the butter in a saucepan, whisk in the maple syrup when it’s sizzling and take the pan off the heat.

Scrape the polenta into bowls and sprinkle with maple butter, parsnip chips, pepper and fresh herbs.

Polenta with Parsnip Chips and Maple Butter


Polenta with Parsnip Chips and Maple Butter


Polenta with Parsnip Chips and Maple Butter


Polenta with Parsnip Chips and Maple Butter


Polenta with Parsnip Chips and Maple Butter