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Parsnip Soup with Leeks, Apples, Pecans and Nutmeg

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‘Tis the season to embrace the season. We are in the deep winter now. Here in New England, we are buried in snow, with snowbank peaks and valleys higher than our heads. By these involuntary or voluntary means, it’s time to slow down, reflect a little more often and cozy up. It’s also a great time for Parsnip Soup.

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This soup starts with a pound of parsnips, which may look like a lot, but between their thick heads and spindly bottoms, you’ll peel and chop down to the right amount in no time. Same goes with the apples and potato: a quick peel and chop, and suddenly you’ll have a beautiful blend of white wintry colored chopped ingredients: parsnips, apples and potato.

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It’s simply a one-pot process after that. Start with browning the leeks, add the chopped ingredients, a little broth, a little water, boil and simmer. Then puree, add a bit of cream, salt & pepper and garnishes.

Creamy Parsnip Soup
Serves 4, prep time 20min, cook time 45min

2T unsalted butter
1 lb (2 cups) prepared sliced leeks
1 lb parsnips, trimmed, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium baking potato (about 1/2lb), peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 can (14.5oz) reduced sodium chicken broth
3T heavy cream

K’s added garnishes:
1/2c chopped apple
1/3c chopped pecans
fresh nutmeg

A quick note about broth: I often use Better Than Boullion Chicken Base for any recipe calling for broth; it’s has a great chicken broth-y flavor and because it’s a paste you mix with water, you can adjust potency for a recipe, like this one, which calls for reduced sodium.

1) Heat the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the leeks (reserving 1/2c for garnish). Cook, stirring for five minutes.

2) Add the parsnips, apples, potato, broth and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until the vegetables are tender, 20-25 minutes.

3) Working in batches (or with a handheld immersion blender), puree the soup until smooth. Stir in the cream. Taste for salt & pepper, and season accordingly. Top with your preferred garnishes.

4) Garnish: Make just before serving: In a large skillet, heat 1T butter over medium-high heat. Add the leeks, cook, stirring, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Lower heat to medium, add apple and pecans, stir together, cook for 2 or 3 minutes (goal here is a quick warming and mixing of ingredients – be careful not to overcook). Sprinkle salt and a bit of pepper, and generous grate of fresh nutmeg.

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The end product will be a hearty and comforting soup with sweet apple, crunchy pecans, crispy leeks and fragrant nutmeg. Enjoy!

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