Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. -Kurt Vonnegut
Did you know that when exposed to the bitter cold, the starches of parsnips will actually turn into sugar rendering them sweet and delicious? Interesting isn’t it? And for this reason, this ancient root vegetable is harvested late in the season here in Québec and well into winter or even early spring.
Parsnips are a lessor known root vegetable, but without any good reason. They are highly nutritious, as versatile as any other root vegetable and perhaps even tastier… as long as you are patient enough to wait for the cold to arrive.
An easy way to bring parsnips to your table is by way of a soup. Don’t let the long list of ingredients below fool you, this recipe is quite straight-forward. The rich, full-flavoured taste of the soup, though, will tell you otherwise.
I like to top this soup with some garlic oil. And well, if you’ve made garlic oil, then you will also have some yummy garlic spread to enjoy as well, so be sure to have some freshly baked bread.
Spiced Parsnip Soup (adapted from Canadian Gardening, Winter 2009 issue)
- 40 g (about 3-4 tbsp) butter
- 400 g (about 2 medium) chopped onions
- 10 g (about 2 cloves) chopped garlic
- 1 tbsp whole wheat flour
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp red chili powder
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 7 cups vegetable stock
- 900 g (or 2 lbs) peeled and chopped parsnips
- 350 g (about 2 medium) peeled and chopped potatoes
- 1 tsp of salt, plus additional to taste
- 1 cup cream
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- drizzle of roasted garlic oil
- In a large casserole (I use my 5.4 L dutch oven pot), melt butter over medium-high heat.
- Add onions and garlic and sauté until softened (about 5 minutes).
- Whisk in flour and spices. Reduce heat and allow to cook for two minutes while stirring.
- Whisk in wine. Increase heat, add stock , potatoes and parsnips, and salt and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until parsnips are completely tender.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
- Purée using an immersion blender until smooth.
- You can refrigerate or freeze portions at this point until ready to use.
- When ready to serve, stir in cream and serve hot with freshly ground pepper and a drizzle of roasted garlic oil.
Roasted Garlic Oil and Roasted Garlic Spread
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 garlic head, top cup off to expose the insides of the cloves
- In a ramekin, add oil and place garlic cut side down. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 400°F for 30-40 minutes. (I usually just stick this into the oven with some other savory dish that I am baking).
- When done remove the garlic head but do not discard. Pour the oil (now roasted garlic oil!) into an airtight container for storing. Remove the garlic cloves and mash up into a spread. You may add additional olive oil to achieve desired consistency.