Nov 22, 2010

Creamy Parsnip Soup

Last week someone said, after reading our post, that parsnips are quite possibly the most underused and under-appreciated vegetable – we couldn’t agree more. So in honor of the almighty parsnip, we made a creamy soup. It’s rich, flavorful and pays homage to a great tasting root veg. We decided to serve it in shot glasses to show a creative way to start off a meal.

Caitlin: Parsnips are one of my favorite winter veggies – I use them in anything I can; from soups, stews, sides to salads. I think this would make a great starter for Thanksgiving – and serving it in shot glasses is a cute way to get everyone excited about what’s coming next. I decided to add some celery to the leeks as they were sautéing for more flavor. I also topped mine with toasted salted peanuts, crushed with a little breadcrumbs - it added a nice salty texture.
Monica: Never tried Cream of Parsnip soup you say??? Well, you should! It is not only creamy and delightful; it is the perfect way to start a meal.  Because the soup purees to a smooth cream – I decided to add some crunchy garlic chips to not only add a touch of pungency, but also crunch.  If you prefer shallots, you can fry those up in the same way as well, and top your soup.  If you are serving this before a meal, it is a good idea to use shot glasses or any other small crystal glasses or cups, that way you don’t get too full before the main course.  The soup is rather easy to make, once everything is chopped, you just have to boil and puree. If you decide to add the garlic chips or fried shallots – you can fry them while the parsnips, veggies, and apples are cooking.

Ingredient List
2 tbsp butter
2 cups leeks
1 celery stalk, optional
1 pound (about 2 large) parsnips – peeled, cut
2 apples – peeled, cored, cut
1 medium potato – peeled, cut
1 can, or 14.5 oz of chicken broth
½ cup cream

Heat butter, add leeks (and celery, if using).
Cook for about 5 minutes.

Add parsnips, apples, potatoes, broth and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil, and simmer until vegetables are soft – about 25 minutes.

Cool slightly and puree the soup. Return to pan – stir in the cream and season with s&p.
Garlic Chips
3 -4 Cloves, Thinly sliced
¼ cup Canola Oil (about 1” in depth, in pot)

Heat the oil over medium-high heat.  The oil should reach about 325 degrees (if you have a thermometer), if not, let it heat for about 3 minutes.  Work in small batches, and add the garlic chips and fry for about 1 ½ minutes (until golden).  Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel to cool.  If you like, you can add a dash of salt once the chips are cool.

Garlic chips are great option, not only for presentation, but for an added flavor.
You can add celery to the base for added flavor.

Caitlin: I was looking through our music and I found an old cd that my husband made for me when we were dating. Some of the bands are: The Tindersticks, Pavement, Avalanches, Belle and Sebastian among many others. Brought back good memories.
Monica: You can serve this to start your meal.  If you use shot glasses or small cups, they can also be served as an appetizer while people are mingling about.  Here are some  pre-dinner music options: 
     1)    “Dream a Little Dream” the Mamas & the Papas
2)    “A Kiss to Build a Dream On” Louis Armstrong
3)    “Falling Slowly” The Frames
4)    “Daydream Believer” the Monkees
5)    “That’s It, I Quit, I’m Movin’ On” Adele

Drink of Choice
Monica: You can choose to drink your soup, but if you would like something to compliment the subtle taste, I would recommend a tart Pomegranate Martini.
Caitlin: I agree with Monica and suggest a sweeter martini.

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