Parsnip and Leek Soup

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Photo Credit:Jonny Valiant, 2011.

 

 

For those celebrating the religious calendar, Lent is upon us, and for many it is the time to give up meat in our diets. For busy home cooks, this soup can be made in ahead of time, basically because it is an uncomplicated vegetable puree. For an added touch you can dressed-up this soup with a touch of American whitefish caviar, the salty counterpoint to sweet parsnips in the mix, makes the soup plenty festive for Easter Dinner.

 

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients:
For the Soup:
1 pound parsnips, peeled and cut 1/4 inch thick
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut 1/4 inch thick
3 cups chicken stock
2 1/2 cups water
2 dried bay leaves
1/2 cup whole milk

For the Black-Pepper Cream:
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
2 ounces whitefish or other caviar, for garnish

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Directions:
To prepare the leeks, rinsed well to remove the sand and grit. Cut the white and pale-green parts only into 1/4-inch-thick semi-circles and set aside.

To Make the soup: Cut a round of parchment to fit inside a large pot. Melt butter in pot over medium heat. Add leeks and a pinch of salt, and cover with parchment round (this will help keep moisture in). Cook, lifting parchment to stir occasionally, until leeks are tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

Stir in parsnips, potatoes, chicken stock, 2 1/2 cups water, bay leaves, and 1 teaspoon salt. Raise heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer gently, partially covered with lid, until parsnips are soft, about 20 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Let cool slightly, about 10 minutes.

Working in batches, puree vegetable mixture in a blender, being sure to hold lid down. Return soup to pot, and stir in milk. Reheat soup over medium heat (do not boil).

To Make the black-pepper cream: Stir 1/4 teaspoon pepper into creme fraiche.

To Serve: Ladle soup into 8 small bowls, and top each with a dollop of black-pepper cream and 1/2 teaspoon caviar.

Cook’s Notes:
Whitefish caviar is a relatively inexpensive variety and can found at Whole Foods  Markets or specialty gourmet food markets.

The soup can be refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 3 months. Stir in milk and rewarm over medium heat just before serving. Black-pepper cream can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.

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Roasted Parsnip Fries

Parsnips are a root vegetable closely related to carrots and parsley. They have a decadently sweet, earthy flavor made richer by winter frosts. Here, the root is paired with tangy lemon juice and some fresh, mild herbs, and roasted to a crisp. Feel free to adjust these additions based on your preferences. You really can't go wrong! Photo by Greg Dupree from  Cooking Light

Photo Credit:  Greg Dupree,  Cooking Lightm 2018.

If you are looking for something different to go along with a classic cheeseburger or a new chip for your fish and chips, then a side order of roasted parsnips may be just the ticket for you. Parsnips are a root vegetable closely related to carrots and parsley. They have a decadently sweet, earthy flavor made richer by winter frosts.This dish is so easy to make and would also be just as delicious with roasted chicken or a grilled steak, given their natural sweetness that caramelizes in the oven for a delicious flavor.

Servings 6

Ingredients:
3 pounds parsnips
3 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
Lemon wedges, for serving

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 425 ° F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Using a vegetable peeler, peel the parsnips, then cut into evenly sized matchsticks.

Place the parsnips in a large bowl and toss with the olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Evenly distribute the parsnips on a baking sheet in a single layer, making sure they have a little room on the sides to brown and caramelize. Place in the oven.

Roast for about 20 to 25 minutes, until the parsnips are starting to turn golden brown on the edges. Toss the parsnips to redistribute, then roast for another 10 to 15 minutes, until tender and golden.

Toss with parsley and serve with lemon wedges.

 

Cook’s Notes:
Note on cooking times: The exact time varies depending on how big the matchsticks are, so make sure to check on them once in a while to see if they’ve become caramelized and fork tender. That’s when you know they’re done.

In this recipe,  the root is paired with tangy lemon juice and some fresh, mild herbs, and roasted to a crisp. Feel free to substitute the herbs with chives, dill, rosemary or even grated Parmesan cheese based on your preferences. You really can’t go wrong!