I am a lover of parsnips. They are sweet and have a lovely smooth texture when cooked. I just learned that they have similar nutritional value to potatoes but do not require very good soil. They are a humble, overlooked, industrious vegetable.
This soothing, fortifying soup is simple to make and really captures the flavours of late autumn. The sum of the soup tastes more complex and delicious than the parts would indicate on paper (or screen). This recipe is from a lovely cookbook that I bought in Estonia. I bought the cookbook because the recipes were in both Estonian and English and I wanted to learn more food related words. I am happy that it turns out to have excellent recipes as well! The author basically chronicles how she cooks primarily using whatever vegetables are plentiful on her farm during any given year. She had a good crop of parsnips so she made this soup!
I used some home-made economical, experimental vegetable stock that I had in my freezer. You could make this soup with home-made chicken broth as well although I have to point out that this soup tastes amazingly rich and savoury without any meat at all. I used less cream than the original recipe called for, but at least a bit of cream is really needed. It balances and blends all of the flavours and makes the texture silky. If you cannot or do not eat dairy, I would try using cashew cream. I have used cashew cream to make vegan cream of broccoli and vegan cream of mushroom soups in the past and I think that it would work here as well. Just soak a half cup of cashews with a half cup of water for about an hour and then puree the until they are creamy. I added some porcini mushroom powder and a splash of Marsala to the fried mushrooms. If you have either or both of those things kicking about in your kitchen throw them in, but if not, I am sure that it will be totally delicious without them as well.
We ate this soup with a green salad and toasted gluten-free dark sourdough bread with butter, while the first snow fell outside.
CREAMED PARSNIP AND APPLE SOUP
Adapted from Sepamaa Talu köök Osa 2, by Anni Arno
- 2 Tablespoons butter (or oil)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 parsnips, chopped
- 4 celery sticks, chopped
- 2 cooking apples, chopped
- 6 cups home-made vegetable stock
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup heavy cream (or try cashew cream and let me know how it works out!)
- salt and pepper to taste
MUSHROOM DILL GARNISH
- 1 tablespoon of butter (or oil)
- About 2 cups cleaned mushrooms, cut in to quarters
- 1 onion, sliced
- A splash of Marsala (optional)
- A generous sprinkling of porcini mushroom powder (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- lots and lots of fresh dill, cut into a fine mince with kitchen scissors
- Melt the butter in a large soup pot and saute the onions, parsnips and celery until the onion is translucent.
- Add the chopped apple and vegetable stock and simmer until the parsnip is tender.
- Add the cream and puree the soup until it is totally smooth (I use a submersion blender).
- Season with salt and pepper and allow the soup to simmer over very low heat while you prepare the mushrooms.
- Heat the butter in a wide heavy bottomed skillet over a medium flame. Add the mushrooms and onion and a little bit of salt.
- Cook over medium heat until the mushrooms have let go of their juices then add the porcini mushroom powder (if using) and turn the heat up cook until the juices are reabsorbed and the mushrooms begin to sizzle. Add the Marsala (if using) and cook until the mushrooms have drunk up the booze. Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve the soup hot in bowls garnished with the mushrooms and lots and lots of fresh dill.