Curried Parsnip and Apple Soup

ParsnipSoup (7)This rich, tasty pureed soup comes from the archives of Fine Cooking, with some of our own adaptations. Adrienne has made this using sweet potatoes instead of Yukons, with splendid results and if you are avoiding carbs on general principle, you can leave out the potato altogether. You may find that you have to add more broth or water at the end, after pureeing, in order to get the consistency just right. That’s because all these vegetables vary widely in how much juice they each contain — the fresher and younger the fruit or veggie, the juicier it will be and vice versa. Regardless, the meld of flavors here is just terrific and this will most certainly become a favorite winter soup. Demoed at Brookside and USBG in September 2014.

3 T olive oil
2 medium leeks (white and light green parts only), chopped and well-rinsed (about 1 ½  cups)
1 C (1 medium) onion, chopped
1 ½ T ginger, minced
1 T tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp mild curry powder
1/3 C white vermouth (can substitute dry sherry or white wine)
1 lb (about 3 medium) tart apples that soften easily when cooked, peeled and cut into chunks
½ lb parsnips (2 large), peeled and cut into chunks
¼ lb (1 small-medium) Yukon Gold potato, peeled and cut into chunks
4 C low-sodium chicken broth
2/3 C heavy cream (for dairy-free, use coconut milk)
Sea salt and ground white pepper

Garnish: finely chopped apple and thinly sliced chives

Heat the olive oil in a 4-quart soup pot over medium heat. Add the leeks and onion and cook, covered, stirring occasionally until just tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the ginger, tomato paste, garlic and curry powder and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the vermouth and cook, uncovered, until the liquid has almost evaporated, 2-3 minutes. Add the apples, parsnips and potato and stir to coat well. Add the chicken broth, bring to a gentle boil, reduce the heat to low. Partially cover with a lid and simmer until the apples and vegetables are very tender, about 30 minutes.

In a blender, food processor or with an emersion blender, puree the soup in batches until completely smooth. Transfer to a  clean soup pot, add the cream and season to taste with salt and white pepper. Serve the soup sprinkled with finely diced apple and chives.

Note: this soup can be make 2-3 days ahead and kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Reheat gently on low heat. It also freezes very well for several weeks. Omit the cream if you are preparing it to freeze and add the cream once the soup has been thawed and reheated. Serves 8.

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