Dear Parsnips,

I'm sorry.

I'm sorry it has taken so long. I'm sorry I've overlooked you in all your wispy, homely grace. I'm sorry I haven't grown you, ever, never thought twice about you when I paged past your seed in the catalog. I'm sorry I hardly ever buy you, and that when I do, you're shoved into a pan with all the others, roasted, hardly allowed to shine. And of course, I'm sorry that I ripped this recipe out of Yankee Magazine eleven months ago, and that it's taken me until now. Because Maple Syrup-Roasted Parsnip Bisque is absolute heaven, and I really should have known.

It's pretty obvious, when you start by roasting parsnips with olive oil and maple syrup and salt, that things are going to be good. It gets even more clear when you make the stock—parsley, onion, carrot, a bay leaf and a handful of peppercorns. When you mix the two together—when you drain the stock and add you—golden, roasted parsnips—things really start to come along. And as you simmer and puree, add a glug of cream and simmer again—well, then you really know.

So here's to you, parsnips—to a future of growing and buying and cooking—and to your endless possibilities.


I ripped this recipe out of the January/February 2009 issue of Yankee Magazine. It has everything I look for in a soup: simplicity, balance, just enough heartiness to satisfy. I've made a few tweaks and I've also cut the recipe in half—big batches of soup tend to languish around here—but if you have a big family, go ahead and double it. I have a feeling it'll disappear.

1 and 1/4 lbs parsnips, washed, trimmed, and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons maple syrup, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups water
1 medium carrot
1 small onion, halved
1/2 small bunch flat-leaf parsley
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 and 1/4 cups heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a small casserole dish, toss together the parsnips, olive oil, 2 tablespoons of the maple syrup, and the salt. Roast for roughly 45 minutes, or until the parsnips are tender and golden brown.

While the parsnips cook, get out a soup pot and combine the water, carrot, onion, parsley, bay leaf, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and cover the pot, and let the vegetables simmer for 30 minutes. Strain the broth and return it to the pot, discarding the vegetables and spices.

Take the parsnips out of the oven and add them to the broth, making sure to pour in any extra oil and maple syrup along with them. Add the remaining maple syrup and the white pepper and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Puree the soup, either using an immersion blender or in batches in a food processor or blender, and return it to the pot. Add the cream, season with salt to taste, and simmer another 10 minutes. Serve hot.


andrea said...

We regularly make something called fish pie (think shepherd's not apple) and usually mix up the veggies we add. One time last year, we added parsnips since we had them from our CSA. Both my husband and I thought it was the best one we ever had. The only thing I would have really done differently is add the parsnips. So now we think they are pretty magic!

The soup sounds fabulous and we are in possession of parsnips, so it must be fate!

Anonymous said...

This sounds delicious. We get parsnips with our CSA share, and they have never been my favorite. I usually end up roasting them with other veggies, but this looks like a great new option. This will be dinner tomorrow. Thanks! ~A Maine Reader

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