Swirls of cream and a sprinkling of pistachios and thyme leaves draw the eye to Parsnip-Pear Soup, a mingling of gentle flavors perfect to serve before a crackling fire.
Makes 6 to 8 servings
- 1½ pounds parsnips, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces (approximately 4½ cups chopped)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1¼ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1⅓ pounds ripe but firm Bosc pears, peeled, cored, and chopped into 1-inch pieces (approximately 3½ cups chopped)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup (¼-inch) chopped yellow onion
- ¾ cup (¼-inch) chopped celery
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- ½ cup water
- ½ teaspoon chopped fresh sage
- ½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 whole cloves
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¾ cup heavy whipping cream, plus more for serving
- 1 teaspoon Champagne vinegar
- Garnish: chopped roasted and salted pistachios, fresh thyme leaves
- Preheat oven to 400°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Add parsnips and oil to prepared pan; sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt and pepper, stirring until well combined.
- Bake until parsnips are almost tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Stir in pears; bake until parsnips and pears are tender, 10 minutes more.
- In a large Dutch oven, heat butter over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and garlic; cook, stirring often, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add parsnip mixture, stock, ½ cup water, sage, thyme, bay leaf, cloves, nutmeg, and remaining ¾ teaspoon salt. Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Discard bay leaf and cloves.
- Working in batches, add soup mixture to the container of a blender; purée until smooth and return soup mixture to Dutch oven. Stir in cream, cooking over medium heat just until heated through. Stir in vinegar.
- Divide soup mixture among desired serving bowls. Using a small spoon, dot surface of soup in each bowl with additional cream, swirling as desired with a wooden pick. Garnish with pistachios and thyme, if desired.
When reheating, add a little water or stock to achieve desired consistency.
To see more deliciousness from “Comforts from the Cottage Table,” see the September 2021 issue, available at victoriamag.com.