Saturday, November 19, 2011

Parsnip & Carrot Purée

We've all seen those strange white carrot shaped rood vegetables in the fresh produce section, Parsnips. Parsnip are richer in vitamins and minerals than its close relative, the carrot. They are particularly rich in potassium with 600 mg per 100 g, and are also a good source of dietary fiber. The buttery, slightly spicy, sweet flavor of cooked mature parsnips is reminiscent of butterscotch, honey, and subtle cardamom.

I came up with this recipe after tasting a delicious parsnip purée in a local restaurant (Jordan House Tavern, in Jordan Ontario). I remembered not particularly liking their taste as a child, but now, I just can't get enough of their subtle spiciness, and try to insert them in as many dishes as I can! So here is my very simple, very delicious recipe, which is sure to please many a finicky palate, as well as impress the more refined ones. It's easy, inexpensive, and quick to make in a pinch. (OH no! MIL is on her way, and I've got NOTHING to serve her for lunch. Easy peasy! Whip up this soup in less than an hour, and serve with a side of garlic bread!) ;)
You could make this soup with parsnips only, but I've added carrots to it, for my kiddo who's not too sure of the taste of parsnips alone. The carrots will make the soup slightly sweeter than parsnips alone, and result in a lovely creamy light orange purée.

Take approximately 1 pound (454 gm) each of carrot and parsnips, peeled, and sliced thickly.

Tada! The magic of digital photography!
No fingers were harmed in the slicing of these root vegetables.
Do ensure that you're using a sharp knife, especially on the parsnips, as they are known to be a tad tougher than carrots.

Put your sliced carrots and parsnips in a large pot that can hold at least 4 quarts (4 liters), and cover with your choice of chicken broth or vegetable stock.

Usually, I'll use my own chicken broth, but since I didn't have any, I reached for one of our trusty pantry staples. I always have these on hand, as my whole family are huge soup eaters, plus, since none of us can stomach cow milk, we also use it as a replacement to make the lightest, fluffiest garlic smashed taters! (there's a whole other post right there)

A little tip from Jewels' kitchen. If you're not going to use both broth packs, take note of the date you opened it on, and write it on the package. Yes, they have a long shelf life, and will last as long as the 'due date', but that only applies to sealed, unopened packs. Once they're open, you've got a maximum of 1 1/2 - 2 weeks to use it.

Let your veggies simmer at medium heat for about 30-45 minutes, or until soft. If you can 'slice' through a piece of parsnip with your spoon easily, they're ready. Here's where I reach for my trusty little magic wand! I LOVE this tool! If you don't have a handheld mixer, you can pour your veggies and broth into a large blender [in batches] - use a ladle so as not to burn yourself, and don't fill the cup entirely, you'll get some splash back that could send your lid flying, and create a big hot mess.
Now, back to my little wand. Take your pot off the heated element before blending, this will help prevent scalding once the purée action starts, and your mixture starts bubbling as it heats.

Starting on a low setting, gently purée your veggies, making sure to keep the business end of your wand submerged. If you don't, you're sure to wear some scalding broth, which I can assure you, is less than pleasant. So, nice and slow, keep that wand moving until every morsel has been obliterated, unless you like having a few chunks in there... If you find that your purée is a little too thick, you can add a bit of broth at a time, until you've reached the desired consistency.

I like mine to be between liquid and baby food consistency; not too thick, not to runny. :)
At this point you can also add a few herbs or spices if you like. Here are a few choices I've used in the past that have all turned out beautifully:
Cumin
Caraway
Coriander
Powdered Ginger
Fresh Cilantro (chopped)
Garlic
Fresh Peppercorn

Let it simmer on very low heat for another 10-20 minutes to let the spices' flavors blend in.

Et Voilà!
A delicious, restaurant worthy, deliciously aromatic soup!
So easy, my 10 year old could do it!
(but only if I do the cutting and blending...) ;)


If you can handle dairy, you could pour a nuage of fresh cream or a dollop of sour cream (LOVE that if there's fresh cilantro in there!)

Bon Appétit!

Jewels

1 comment:

Dino said...

I love root veggies but i can't say i have tried parsnips. Must fix this ASAP. I love the little whisk thing. It was a bit of a pain pureeing my carrot/kohlrabi soup using my magic bullet - I made a point to hint to Grumpy that a food processor sure would be nice ;)