Parsnip soup with parmesan crisps

After philosophizing about what might be the next Brussels sprout a month ago – I submitted this Mediterranean spin on the humble turnip – a friend replied that she was quite fond of parsnips after living abroad in Wales. Like the turnip, it's an unappreciated vegetable in that its sweetness and slight anise flavor balance out so many other ingredients.

This savory parsnip soup highlights this tendency towards harmony, mixing parsnips with sweet onion and apple. Even paired with these sweeter flavors, there's nothing cloying about this soup – vegetal, earthy flavors win out in this dish that sings of changing seasons.

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Simple, single-ingredient parmesan crisps - essentially cheese melted into chips - make for an ideal garnish. The salt of the parmesan draws out the nuances of this soup's flavor.

This recipe makes 4 entrée-sized portions of soup, or 6-8 appetizers. All-in, this recipe takes less than 45 minutes from start to finish. 

What you need

Parsnip soup

  • 1 lb parsnips
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 1 large green apples, like Granny Smith, peeled
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly cracked white or black pepper
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Parsley sprigs, roughly chopped (optional)

Parmesan crisps

  • 1/4 cup parmigiano-reggiano cheese, shredded

How to do it

Parsnip soup

Preheat oven to 425-degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet by covering with foil or parchment paper.

As oven heats, chop parsnips into 1/2-inch thick disks and place on baking sheet. Then, slice onions into 1/2-inch thick rings and place on baking sheet. Peel the apple and dice into rough 1/2-inch cubes, removing the core and seeds; add to baking sheet with parsnips and onion.

Next, drizzle olive oil over parsnips, onion and apple on the baking sheet and use a wooden spoon to coat.

Place baking sheet in the oven and roast parsnips, onion and apple for 25 minutes.

If using a high-powered blender, like a Vitamix, to purée soup

Add roasted vegetables, chicken stock, lemon juice, salt and pepper to the blender. Turn on the blender on lowest setting and slowly accelerate to the highest setting. Allow soup to purée for 6-8 minutes, until steam begins to rise out of the top of the blender. Taste the parsnip soup and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve soup while hot, garnished with parsley and a couple parmesan crisps (recipe below).

If using an immersion blender to purée soup

While parsnips, onion and apple roasts, warm chicken stock in a large sauce pan on the stove over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Turn down stove to low heat to keep the stock at a high temperature. Add roasted vegetables (once cooked), along with lemon juice, salt and pepper, to the chicken stock. Next, use immersion blender to puree, blending until soup is completely smooth and no chunks of vegetables remain. Taste the parsnip soup and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve soup while hot, garnished with parsley and a couple parmesan crisps (recipe below).

Leftover parsnip soup can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Parmesan crisps

Turn oven to a low-broil setting. As oven heats, place foil or parchment paper on a baking sheet and spray with cooking spray. Sprinkle parmesan cheese into six even clusters, forming circles of cheese about 4-inch in diameter. Place baking sheet in the oven with oven light on, and cook parmesan crisps until the cheese is melted and begins to just brown, about 2 minutes. Remove parmesan crisps from the oven and allow to sit for about 5 minutes before serving.

Leftover parmesan crisps should be stored in a plastic bag at room temperature and last for us to a week. These parmesan crisps can also be served on top of salads and make a delicious snack or cheeseboard addition.