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Roasted Parsnip Soup
Right Food for the Season - Early Winter
Written by Michelle Lahey   

Parsnips are often described as "looking like a white carrot." But one bite will tell you, despite their relation, this root vegetable is nothing like a carrot.

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Parsnip Soup

I must confess: This was my first time cooking with parsnips. Somehow, I always seem to forget that they exist. Perhaps it's their pale exterior that just doesn't catch my eye? Regardless of the reason, it's a shame I didn't start cooking with them sooner.

If you're new to parsnips like I was, this soup is a great introduction to the vegetable. For this comforting, nutritious soup, roasting the parsnips is key. Roasting (well...cooking parsnips in general) brings out the vegetable's delightfully sweet flavor. Although spices and additional flavors are barely even necessary, the onions, celery, cumin and crushed red pepper flakes help to make this a savory, perfect-for-winter dish. Serve with thick slices of crusty baguette for dipping, or simply put the bowl to your mouth and slurp.

Roasted Parsnip Soup

Yields: 8 servings

Adapted from: Country Living

2 pounds local parsnips (Manheim Farm's was used here), trimmed, peeled, and cut into 2-inch pieces

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Salt and black pepper, to taste

1 medium yellow onion, diced

1 celery stalk, diced

Salt and black pepper, to taste

1 teaspoon minced garlic

Splash of dry white wine 

1 Turkish bay leaf

1 teaspoon cumin

Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

1 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Toss the parsnips, 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, and pepper together and place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast the parsnips, turning in the pan occasionally, until tender and easily pierced with a fork (about 40-45 minutes). Discard any burnt pieces and set aside.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, salt, and black pepper and cook until translucent and softened, about 4-5 minutes. Add garlic, stir, then add a splash of white wine. Cook for an additional 1 minute.

Stir in the parsnips, bay leaf, cumin, red pepper flakes, and vegetable broth; increase the heat slightly, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, partially cover the pot, and simmer until the parsnips fall apart easily, about 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaf.

With a hand blender, puree the soup until smooth (you can also use a blender to puree the soup, in batches). Add water if a thinner consistency is desired (I ended up adding about a cup of water to mine). Taste soup, and adjust seasoning as necessary.

 

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