My very lovely mother bought me a new cookbook for Hanukkah because of my recent descent into soup-obsession. It’s vegan (which I actually like—even though I’ll be de-veganizing most of the recipes—because I have vegan-envy), organized by season, not too healthy, not quick. Big, long soups. This one’s taken a few hours what with the chopping, onion-goldening, and cooking, and it was lovely and smelled wonderful.
It’s called Creamy Parsnip-Vegetable Soup, and I am including the recipe at the bottom (first time!) (de-veganized!) because it’s really really good, and I don’t always love things I make.
I did not know what a parsnip was when I went parsnip-shopping. This was a two-grocery-store ingredient list, which I generally like because the NYC Freshmarket is a very pleasant place, full of exciting vegetables, and I don’t go unless I have to buy something weird. I asked a produce dude if they had parsnips, and he pointed at the weird-looking vegetable I was standing right in front of. I was like, oh. (I thought they were supposed to be like turnips, but they are like carrots.) Then I bought 1.43 pounds of them, even though I only needed 1, because they don’t have a scale. So this is actually Extreme Parsnip Soup. (I scaled up the rest of it a bit; it calls for two large potatoes, and I used four small ones, which was clearly too much. It’s really thick. And creamy and tasty.)
I chopped chopped chopped for a while; the parsnips were the hardest. The cookbook also said they were supposed to be “scraped,” but I have no idea what that means, so I just peeled it as I would anything else, which seemed to be the way to go. They smelled really strange and interesting. I should have tasted it raw.
Then I goldened the onions (well, sort of; they didn’t really golden particularly) and celery and added everything else (the celery leaves were the coolest part—I’ve never used them before), and stirred, and waited. And smelled, and blended, and seasoned exuberantly, and licked the entire spoon at the end.
Creamy Parsnip-Vegetable Soup
De-veganized by me, otherwise basically as set forth in Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil (I eyeballed)
1 1/2 c chopped onion (for me, one medium, one small; this was a bit more than 1 1/2 c)
1 large celery stalk, diced
Handful of celery leaves (cool!)
1 pound parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 16-oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 1/2 tsp salt-free seasoning (I used Mrs. Dash Table Blend)
2 bouillon cubes (vegetable bouillon if you are not me; chicken if you are)
2 tbsp minced fresh parsley
1 1/2 c milk, or as needed
1/2 c cream
Heat the oil in a soup pot. Add onion and celery and sauté over medium-low heat until golden. (Or not until golden.)
Add all other vegetables, seasoning, and bouillon cubes. Add just enough water to cover the vegetables—I think I probably used about four cups. Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat. Cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender; this took 20 minutes for me. Remove from the heat.
Blend about half of the soup (or all). (Sorry, Sari. But really, you just got married, and should own a blender. You probably do and you just don’t know it.) Stir in the parsley, milk, and cream. Season with salt and pepper. Return to the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.