Yesterday I encountered a cold and lazy Saturday. Not having any specific chores or plans I decided to venture into the unknown… to make a soup from scratch. But this was not just your Mom’s average Chicken and Rice.. this was Parsnip Soup! I make no claims to being a food blogger- dinner at our place usually consists of burritos or the hot buffet from Whole Foods- but the result here was so amazing and so easy that I just had to share. The recipe I adapted is one from Gourmet magazine.
Parsnips are a winter root vegetable very similar to carrots but much less widely used- this probably due to the fact that they are scraggly and probably the ugliest item in the vegetable aisle. They also have a sharper sweeter taste than carrots and are white in color. If they don’t scare you away, they are quite a treat 🙂
Start the soup by peeling and cutting the ends off of a pound and a half of parsnips. As soon as you start peeling, the smell of the parsnips hints that this is going to be an amazing dish.
Place the parsnips on a baking sheet and drizzle lightly with some extra virgin olive oil. Put the baking sheet in an oven preheated to 350 and set a timer for a half hour.
Next take the light green and white portion of a leek, three shallots and three celery ribs and finely chop them. I used a food processor which saved me lots of time.
Once the parsnips have been roasting for a half hour add the other vegetables and roast for another half hour.
After the parsnips and chopped vegetables have turned a pretty golden brown take the pan out of the oven and chop the parsnips into 2 inch thick pieces. Place in a large saucepan on the stovetop on medium heat and add 4 cups of chicken broth. (if you’re a vegetarian, feel free to use veggie broth; I imagine it won’t make a difference.)
Let everything simmer with the lid on for about 20 minutes.
Now comes the fun part.
Take an immersion blender and completely puree the soup. If you don’t have an immersion blender (which I recommend buying because they are amazing) you can scoop everything into a blender in batches to puree and then return to the stove. Once the soup is mostly pureed add 3/4 cups of heavy cream to thicken it up.
Last step! Stir in 2 teaspoons of brown sugar and enough salt and pepper to taste. If you are especially particular you can use white pepper to avoid having little black flecks in your soup. I didn’t particularly care.
And that’s it! Serve warm. I sprinkled some fresh parsley on top which I thought was a nice flavor. I would imagine there are a few ways you could experiment with other additions such as lump crab meat, creme fraiche or even hot sauce.