Friday, February 26, 2010

Skinny Parsnip Soup

I love parsnips, especially this time of year when they are super sweet. Parsnips look like an albino carrot and the flavors are somewhat similar except parsnips are spicier. It seems that the most common preparation for parsnips is to mash or puree them with copious amounts of butter and cream sort of like potatoes. There's certainly nothing wrong with this but we're trying to be healthy here. Plus I find that if you add too much butter and cream, you can't really taste the parsnips.

Last night, I reached for the bag of parsnips that were sitting in my refrigerator and decided to turn them into something soothing and comforting for dinner but without all the fat and calories. I had such good luck with Martha's Cauliflower Soup so I figured why not apply the same technique to the parsnips and make a soup. I cut the parsnips into a fine dice so they would cook quickly and sauteed them with onions along with a tiny amount of olive oil in a nonstick pan. After the parsnips were soft, I added chicken stock and adjusted the seasonings with salt and pepper. I covered the pot and let the mixture cook on medium heat until the parsnips were uber soft (about 15 minutes). This mixture was then transferred to a deep bowl to be pureed with an immersion blender. I prefer a thicker soup but you can always add more chicken stock if you prefer a more soupy texture.

As with the cauliflower soup, I added brown rice to the soup and ended up something that resembled a creamy risotto. Roasted chicken breast was my protein but grilled salmon or even pork would be delicious here too.

If you were to do the full throttle preparation of parsnips with cream and butter, I would recommend a rich, buttery, oaky Chardonnay. The butter and cream rounds out the soup but without these fats we have a dish that is much sweeter and calls for a wine with good, clean fruit. We can stay with Chardonnay but I would recommend a non-oaked style. Many non-oaked Chards can be hollow and tart but the Mer Soleil Silver Unoaked Chardonnay ($26) is perfect. Fermented in stainless steel, the wine features tons of tropical fruit notes and the finish is fresh and clean. Even if you don't like Chardonnay and prefer the clean zip of Sauvignon Blanc or dry Rieslings, my guess is you'll probably enjoy this wine.


  1. Thanks for this skinny parsnip soup recipe. Soup is always a great meal during the cold winter months.

  2. Yeah I hard to wait but it worth it, I always wait for the season too, they are easy to cook and you can also make delicious dishes with it.

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