I don’t know what it says about me that after 5 years of blogging, I can still find vegetables that I’ve never written about (or cooked with, to be honest about it). I’m afraid it means that I get stuck in a rut, using the same tried and true ingredients over and over again, but when I’m feeling a bit more charitable toward myself, I blame it on the local grocery stores, which don’t get a lot of new-to-me produce, and when they do, it’s often old and sickly-looking from lack of anyone buying it regularly. So a combination of these reasons is how parsnips come to make their first appearance on this blog. Oh, how I wish I’d discovered them sooner!
Parsnips look like white carrots, and you want to buy them when they’re all stiff and cream-colored and pert, not floppy and browning and sad. I found the stiff and happily organic kind recently at the local co-op, and a conversation with one of the produce guys convinced me that I should either (a) roast them or (b) make them into soup. Being the raging non-conformist that I am I decided to do both, simultaneously. Before I pureed the roasted parsnips, though, I took a nibble (or three) and discovered that I loved them straight out of the oven, totally unadorned. I had to press on with my planned parsnip soup, though I’m sure that roasted parsnips will be making another appearance on this blog soon.
And now the bad news: This recipe is not for everyone. Parsnips have a sweet flavor, brought out by roasting, that some people (ahem E) object to in a soup. D and I loved this soup–it grew on D, as his comments went from “interesting” to “good” to “delicious” to “May I finish off the rest of the pot?” The mushrooms add a little earthiness, but if you’re not sure about the sweet, skip this soup and wait for my next parsnip recipe. I promise you won’t have to wait another 5 years.
- 1 pound parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 head garlic
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 1 rib celery (including leaves), chopped
- 4 to 5 cups No-Chicken broth
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper or to taste (white pepper adds spiciness)
- 1/2 cup great northern beans
- 6-8 ounces mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
- 1 green onion, sliced thin
- salt to taste
- Preheat oven to 400F. Place the parsnip cubes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Cut the top off of the head of garlic, just enough to expose the tops of the cloves. Place it on a square of aluminum foil, spritz it quickly with a 1/2-second spray of olive oil (optional), and wrap it up. Place it on the baking sheet with the parsnips and put it into the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, turn over the parsnips, and cook for 10-15 more minutes until parsnips are tender and just touched with brown. Remove from oven and allow the garlic to cool in its wrapper.
- Heat a non-stick saucepan and cook the onion until it’s translucent. Add the celery and cook for a couple minutes more. Add 3 cups of the broth, the parsnips, and the pepper. Squeeze the garlic out of the cloves into the pan. Cook for a few minutes, until parsnips have softened. Add the beans.
- Puree the soup in one of two ways: (1)place it into a blender in one or two batches, being careful not to fill more than half full and adding more broth if necessary (preferred), or (2) use a stick blender and carefully blend right in the pan. The smoother you get it, the better, so a Vita-Mix or other high-powered blender is great here. Return the pureed soup to the pan and warm over low heat. If the soup is too thick, add more broth until it reaches your desired consistency. Keep it covered because it will “erupt” from time to time.
- Cook the sliced mushrooms in a small non-stick skillet until they soften and release their juices. Season them with salt and add the green onion. Stir most of them into the soup, setting some nice-looking ones aside to use as a garnish. Season with salt and white pepper to taste (careful with the white pepper if you don’t like things spicy!)
Other Bloggers Do Parsnips:
Curried Parsnip Soup from Novel Eats
Parsnip Cake at Veganbaking.net (do not look if you’re on a diet!)
Puréed Roasted Parsnips Recipe at Simply Recipes (veganizable)
Parsnip and wild rice mulligatawny by Allotment 2 Kitchen
Slow Cooker Vegan Lentil Parsnip Soup by Geek, Poet, Housewife, Wannabe
Seasonal Spotlight: Parsnips on The Kitchn
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