It’s the first day of fall! Hooray! I’m doing my best to embrace it despite my disdain for the change of season- you can read about that here and here. So bring on the apples, pumpkins, corn mazes, and cute little goblins – the best parts of the season, right? Oh, and of course who can forget the comfort foods that roll back into our kitchens after a summer of salads and grilled foods.. Soups and stews are some of my favorite cold weather dishes to make during this change of season. There is just something great about a homemade soup or hearty stew cooking on the stove when there’s a chill in the air. One of my favorites to make this time of year, when apples are ripe for the pickin’ (literately) and farmers markets are loaded with potato, onions, and root vegetables galore, is this Irish Apple and Parsnip Soup.
I know what you’re thinking…parsnips? The carrot’s uglier cousin? But really, I would consider this more of a Potato, Irish Apple and Parsnip soup – with the potato playing a key role yet sadly left out of the title of this dish, sorry potato. So no need to freak out the title of the dish. Plus, you don’t know until you try, right? I’m not sure I’d ever used, or even knew what a parsnip was until I went to a cooking class and learned to make this delightful dish.
Let me explain. A few years back my mom and I took a quick girls weekend to Milwaukee, and decided to do a hands on cooking class at Sur La Table. I was a little hesitant about the Irish themed menu we were going to prepare, which consisted of a potato mash with braised cabbage, salmon (I didn’t eat salmon at the time or even have a clue how to cook it), a root vegetable soup, and a chocolate whiskey cake (well okay, I was totally fine with the chocolate whiskey cake part). During the process of this class, not only did I learn a ton about preparing certain foods that I was hesitant to try at home (I now cook Salmon all the time – just the way I was taught in this class!), but it also gave me the opportunity to try some new foods that I normally would shy away from, like a parsnip soup. However each of the dishes we learned to make were totally delicious, elegant, and actually fairly simple to make.
The Irish Apple, (Potato) and Parsnip Soup was a dish that I knew I would make again (and have made). The ingredients, while seemingly a slightly odd combination, work perfectly together to create a creamy soup that is more light and sweet than rich and heavy (as some potato soups can be), and packed with flavor. Served with a slice of delicious sourdough or a hunk of baguette and you’ve got yourself a delicious fall dinner. Feast your eye taste-buds (I’m certain this is a thing because looking at food makes your mouth water) on these images and then catch the recipe after the jump.
If you love to cook like I do and ever have an opportunity to attend a cooking class at Sur La Table, or any where cooking classes are offered, I highly suggest doing it. I promise you, it’ll be a great experience.
The following recipe from Sur La Table:
Irish Apple and Parsnip Soup
Serves: Makes 4 servings
- 4 ounces unsalted butter
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 1 leek (white part only), halved lengthwise, washed and dried, cut into ¼ inch pieces
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 large (¾-pound) Yukon Gold potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 parsnips (about ½-pound), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped into 2-inch pieces
- 5 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups apple juice
- 1 cup whole milk
- ½ cup flat leaf parsley
- Kosher salt and freshly black pepper
Place a large saucepan on the stove over a medium heat. Add the butter, and when melted, add shallots, leeks and garlic and using a wooden spoon to occasionally stir. Cook until leeks are tender, about 7 minutes.
Add the potato, parsnips and apples and cook until just potatoes are starting to soften, about 5 minutes.
Add the broth and apple juice; reduce stove temperature to a simmer. Cover the saucepan and cook until the vegetables are very soft, about 30 minutes.
Remove the saucepan from the heat, add the parsley and using a blender, or an immersion blender, thoroughly purée the mixture.
Return the saucepan to the stove over a medium-low heat and stir in the milk. Heat the soup, stirring occasionally, until the soup is heated through and boils. Taste and season with salt and pepper.