Giving thanks for parsnips

I was 40 years old before I discovered I like parsnips. And since then I’ve been making up for lost time, trying new ways to cook and eat the under-appreciated cousin of the carrot family. Most often, I simply toss them with other root vegetables and olive oil and roast them. I don’t eat mashed potatoes very often, but now I won’t even consider it without a parsnip mashed in with the spuds.

At first glance, parsnips appear to be nothing more than a white carrot, but they have a bit more tang, a bit more attitude. They seemingly stand up on your plate and scream, “Look at me, darnit, I am not a carrot!”

Thankfully, this fall, Peddie Food Service has been serving a Cream of Parsnip soup and I just had to get my hands on the recipe. Unsure how PFS felt about sharing their kitchen secrets, I cornered Robin in the dining hall today. Minutes later, Chef Oleg was happily revealing his recipe to me, Robin insisting I write it down a scrap of brown paper towel.

I’m spreading my love of parsnips, Peddie community. Want to join me? Here’s the recipe. Me? I’m making a big batch to take to my in-laws on Thanksgiving. And I will give thanks for parsnips. And for Peddie Food Service.

Chef Oleg’s Cream of Parsnip Soup

Roughly chop two stalks of celery and one medium onion
Saute celery and onion in butter until translucent
Add 2 lbs peeled and chopped parsnips and saute a few minutes more
Cover with vegetable broth
Simmer, covered, about 20 minutes
Puree the vegetable mixture with an immersion blender
Strain through a medium sieve (this is what gives this delicious soup its velvety feel)
Finish with enough cream to thin it to desired consistency
Add to taste salt and white pepper (not black pepper, Oleg warns, no one wants black specks in this soup!)