Monday, March 1, 2010

Peaceful Soup

In a comment on my previous post about parsnips, Morgan had suggested using them in soup, which seemed nothing short of brilliant to me, so I set out to make a pot. As usual, I didn't have all the ingredients for the soup recipe I had researched online and with a stinky head cold I wasn't inclined to go out in search of them, but I have discovered that that isn't always necessary for success.

Contemplating soup construction, I just think about what flavors I'd enjoy together if they were arranged side-by-side on a plate - and then chuck them all in the pot with liquid. This time, parsnips sounded like the perfect accompaniment to shallots, leeks and apples and, since I had all those things clamoring to be used, I decided to give them a shot.

Lots of peeling and chopping ensued, but when all the chopping is done, the rest of the preparation is dead easy. I sautéed the chopped shallots and leeks in butter until they were soft, then added the rest of the ingredients and let them simmer together for about 20 minutes before blending. Once blended and back in a big pot, I added just a touch of half and half to smooth it and adjusted the seasonings with salt and pepper.

The soup is nothing to look at but the flavor is sublime. Not as sweet as butternut soup, but there's a hint of sweetness. Not as savory as leek and potato soup, but there's a savory layer in there. The celery leaves lightened it up a bit and gave it some spark without being the dominant flavor. It was like a peaceful kindergarten class where all the children are playing nicely together and no one is snatching all the toys.

Peaceful Soup

2 parsnips, peeled and finely chopped
3 large shallots, peeled and finely chopped
1 large leek, white and pale green parts only, carefully washed and chopped
2 Pink Lady apples, peeled and coarsely chopped (I suspect just about any nice apple would do)
3 Tbs. or so of fresh celery leaves, roughly chopped
4 cups chicken broth (I used the organic kind in a box)
2-3 Tbs butter
1/4 cup half and half or light cream
salt and pepper to taste (I don't cook with salt, only add it at the table. It's important in this soup, which was a tad bland until we added a light spritz of Hawaiian red salt and a nice pinch of freshly ground pepper).

Sauté the leek and shallots together in the butter (in melting my butter, it got a little brown, and that was a good thing) until they are softened, then add all other ingredients except the half and half. Simmer together, covered, for about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly, then blend in batches in a blender, (or use one of those nifty hand blenders if you have one) pouring the blended soup into a large clean pot. Once all is blended, heat the soup gently and add the half and half, stirring to mix it in. Serve hot. Some croutons or cheese toasts would be a nice accompaniment.

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Blogger Louis la Vache said...

This DOES sound good!

«Louis» will certainly let you know if he revives "Les Recettes de Louis la Vache".

Chez la Vache is, indeed, very near you - in Albany in the towers above I-80, 580.

Monday, March 01, 2010  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

What a sweet mug! Happy to hear about your happy soup. I love soup.

Monday, March 01, 2010  
Blogger namastenancy said...

It's the mark of an excellent cook to be able to successfully substitute ingredients and still, have it come out delicious. I'd give this recipe a big gold star. I've made a similar soup with other root vegetables; also, I've roasted parsnips, carrots, squash with a light maple syrup glaze. Yummy! Yummy! I almost (almost) prefer mashed parsnips to mashed potatoes. I like to pretend that they have less calories. They may have less carbs but I'm too chicken to try and find out.

Monday, March 01, 2010  
Blogger Anderburf said...

This sounds really good! I just got some organic pepper and Himalayan sea salt from Sustainable Sourcing and I think I'll try them both out in this recipe. Thanks for sharing!

Monday, March 01, 2010  
Blogger dancingmorganmouse said...

I've never thought of putting apples in a 'snip soup, I'll have to give it a go. Roll on winter!

Monday, March 01, 2010  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Louis, we are practially neighbors. Fun!

Cookiecrumb, I made that mug years ago, back in my Pottery Period.

Nancy, light maple glaze, huh? Sounds very Thanksgivingish. Yum.

Anderburf, you salt snob, you! Isn't it amazing how different salts taste?

Morgan, impending rot is the mother of invention, n'est-ce pas? :-)

Tuesday, March 02, 2010  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Louis, another thought - have you tried the restaurant, Rendezvous, in Albany on the corner of San Pablo and Solano? The owner is French and the food is both good and reasonable. Vive la France!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010  

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