Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sweet & Creamy Parsnip Soup

A very satisfying mid-winter soup. Even if it is feeling a lot more like spring, around here! Not too sweet, and a little bit spicy from a healthy dose of black pepper, plus the natural bite of parsnips. It doesn't taste too cheesy, either. The gruyere adds a depth of flavor, and of course creaminess, that I definitely wouldn't want to do without. All of the flavors manage to play nice, without any one taking over.

2 TB olive oil
1 TB unsalted butter
1 TB maple syrup

1 med. yellow onion, chopped
2 med. carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, trimmed & chopped
1 sweet apple, peeled, cored & chopped
1 TB fresh rosemary, minced

1 lb parsnips, peeled and chopped
1 med. yukon gold potato, peeled and chopped

1/4 tsp black pepper
few gratings fresh nutmeg
big pinch sea salt

1/2 c. grated gruyere cheese, plus extra for topping
chopped parsley for topping

Heat olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, celery, sweet apple and rosemary. Add maple syrup. Saute until onion is translucent, about 8 minutes.

Add parsnips and potato, stir. Add veggie broth and spices. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook 35 minutes or until parsnips and potatoes are soft and pierce easily.

Remove from heat and blend until completely smooth, either with immersion blender or in batches in regular blender. 

Stir in grated gruyere until melted.

Serve with chopped parsley and extra cheese.

P.S. If you live around here and are enjoying these mid 60's temperatures like us, (and if you're still reading!) I must suggest a trip to Huntley Meadows. I'd never been in the winter before, and it was still very beautiful, and very full of birds and beaver dams and adventures of all kinds (few frogs and snakes, though). I LOVE this great big wildlife sanctuary in the middle of Alexandria.

A well-maintained boardwalk takes you all around the wetland.

Our friend spotted a beaver dam!

The trails continue in the woods. A winter walk was especially fun with Ingrid and a friend because they got to run pretty far ahead, and I could still see them (plus, our friend brought walkie-talkies!)

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