Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Perfect Soup for Fall

Fall is the perfect time for soup. There's just something about the crisp, cool days, wearing sweaters and jean, crunching through fallen leaves, that makes me crave a steaming bowl of soup.  And warm, crusty bread, but I'm not eating trying not to eat bread anymore, so you all can indulge.  BUT this soup is so incredibly simple and delicious you might not even miss the bread...much. Although I did find these really great German breads, and the rye version (no gluten) goes really well this soup.  It serves as a great texture counterpoint to the smooth soup. So, in case you, too, are trying to decrease your carb/gluten consumption, you might want to try that kind of bread (at our grocery store, I've found them in the International aisle).

This soup is vegetarian, with delicious roasted parsnips, onions and apples that taste like fall in a bowl. Seriously, it's absolutely delicious!  I don't have any long-winded descriptions about going to the farmer's market or an orchard to personally pick my ingredients. Nope, just picked them up at the grocery store.

You might be tempted to skip the roasting step, and that's your prerogative, but I think the roasting pulls out more sweetness from the veggies and apples so the flavors are so much smoother.  But try it both ways and judge for yourself!

Roasted Parsnip, Apple, Onion Soup


1.5 lbs parsnips
2 medium onions
2 medium apples
Olive oil
salt and pepper
3 sprigs rosemary
1 qt. low sodium (or homemade) vegetable stock

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Peel parsnips and cut into large-ish chunks. Size isn't as important as making sure that all the pieces are the same relative size.  Peel onions, then cut into wedges: don't cut out the root end completely, then cut into quarters.  The root will help keep the wedges together. Cut apples into quarters, then cut out the core. Toss the parsnips, onions, apples and rosemary with some olive oil (about 2 Tbsp.), a couple of sprinkles of salt and pepper. Don't go too heavy on the seasoning, because you can adjust that later. Put everything on a baking sheet (you might need two), and spread out into a single layer.

Roast parsnip/apple/onion mixture until veggies are soft, about 30 minutes, but it will really depend on how big you cut the parsnips.  Use a spatula to flip the veggies over about halfway through the roasting process.

Once the veggies are tender, pull them out of the oven and let them cool enough to handle them.  Put the parsnips in a 3-quart saucepan, then add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil.  Turn down to a simmer and cook 10 more minutes.  Parsnips should be very soft.  Add onions to the saucepan, peel off some of the rosemary leaves (I'll let you decide how much rosemary flavor you want in it) and add it to the pan, then scrape off the peel from the apples, adding the flesh to the pan as well.

Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth.  If you don't have an immersion blender, you can use a blender or food processor (you'll have to do it in batches).  Add liquid to get to the consistency you want (you could use more vegetable stock, or water, or apple cider, depending on the flavors you want to come out).   Add the liquid little by little until you get the consistency you want. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Reheat the soup so that it's nice and warm.  Serves about 4 (even more if you serve it with a nice salad and some delicious, crusty bread).

Because it's me, I added a little hot sauce (sriracha) to my bowl, but to each his own preferences.

Happy Fall, everyone!

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