Creamy Parsnip Soup

Parsnip Soup
Creamy Parsnip Soup. Molly Watson
    40 mins
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Parsnips may look like overgrown mutated white carrots, but they have a fabulously sweet and nutty flavor that's all their own. Learn more about parsnips here.

Here parsnips are used to make a simple but satisfying creamy soup perfect for a chilly night. Serve it as a humble supper all on its own with crusty bread or crackers. Add a fresh tossed green salad or cheese-garnished salad of hearty winter greens (like this radicchio one) for more of a dinner. This simple soup is also lovely as an elegant first course to a more substantial meal. 

What You'll Need

  • 1 onion or leek
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 pounds parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups low-fat or whole milk
  • Freshly ground white or black pepper to taste
  • Fresh herbs for garnish, if you like (shown here with chervil, but parsley or chives are also nice)

How to Make It

  1. Peel and chop the onion or leek (if using a leek, be sure to rinse the resulting pieces perfectly clean so your soup won't be gritty!).
  2. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add the chopped onion or leek and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onion is a bit creamy looking, about 10 minutes. Adjust the heat, if needed, so the onions or leeks cook but don't start to brown).
  3. While the onions or leeks cook, peel and mince the garlic clove. Add the garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.
  1. While the onion or leek cook, also peel and chop the parsnips. Add them and the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a steady simmer and cook until the parsnips are very tender to the bite, about 20 minutes.
  2. Purée the soup until very smooth. The easiest way to do this is to use a hand-held immersion blender. Alternatively, work in batches and transfer the soup to a blender or food processor (cover blender with a kitchen towel to avoid potential burns) and whirl each batch until utterly smooth. For a truly ultra-smooth soup, strain through a fine-mesh sieve, if you like.
  3. Add the milk and gently heat, stirring occasionally, until nice and hot all the way through. Be careful not to let the soup come to a boil, since that will curdle the milk. While the soup heats, finely chop or mince any herbs you want to use as a garnish. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot, garnished with fresh chopped herbs, if you like.