The humble parsnip gets a fabulously elegant makeover in this rich and velvety cream of parsnip soup. After roasting relaxingly in the oven with a blend of helpful aromatics, the parsnips (and their flattering additions) are then treated to a gently simmering bath of vegetable broth where they get enriched with a generous dose of cream and finally kissed with a sexy splash of sherry. When it comes to cold weather cooking, there is no more glamorous or graceful a way to chase away the chill than with a fancy cream soup.
Ingredients for Parsnip Soup
- olive oil
- vegetable broth
- heavy whipping cream
- maple syrup
- sherry (cream can be used in a pinch, but a dry variety works best here)
- kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
See recipe card for quantities.
Heat oven to 350℉. Peel and chop the parsnips into pieces (making them as roughly close in size as possible).
Toss parsnips with one tablespoon of the olive oil and arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes.
In the meantime, roughly chop the onion, celery, and leek. Then toss with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.
Once the parsnips have had their first 30 minutes in the oven, add the rest of the vegetables to the pan and roast for another 30 minutes or until golden.
Transfer the roasted vegetables to a medium saucepan and add the vegetable broth. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook, covered, about 20 minutes or until the parsnips are fork tender.
Remove the saucepan from heat and add the cream.
Using an immersion blender, purée the mixture until it is velvety smooth. (You could also use a food processor or regular blender for this step.)
Then stir in the maple syrup and sherry. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve the soup simply and beautifully plain or garnish it with a scattering of chopped fresh chives.
Hint: If your soup seems a bit too thick after it has been blended, just whisk in a bit more vegetable broth until it has reached the consistency you prefer.
This is a versatile recipe that can be adjusted to suit your taste in all kinds of ways. Here are just a few...
- Skip the Heavy Whipping Cream - If you want to lighten things up, simply substitute half and half or milk for the heavy whipping cream.
- Play Around with Different Types of Sherry - While the addition of sherry is not essential, it certainly lends some lovely dimension to this soup...so feel free to experiment with different types. I used a cream sherry here because it was the only one I happened to have on hand, but a dry variety really works best since the parsnips bring their own sweetness. Whatever you do, I recommend choosing a sherry that you wouldn't hesitate to drink on its own (in other words, avoid "cooking" sherry).
- Add Spices - There are all sorts of spices that would work well in this recipe. For instance, you might try tossing in some fresh chopped sage or thyme leaves when roasting the vegetables...or perhaps grating in a bit of fresh nutmeg along with the cream.
An immersion blender is really useful here since it allows you to purée the soup right in the pot, which makes preparation a real snap. In the alternative, a food processor or countertop blender will also do the trick.
Parsnip soup can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. Just be sure to reheat it gently on account of the cream component.
Looking for more creamy vegetable soups? Try these:
This soup can be made either entirely or mostly in advance. After the roasted vegetables have been simmered in the broth, simply cool the mixture and refrigerate until you are ready to proceed. Then heat it back up to a simmer before introducing the cream, blending, and making the final flavor additions.
- immersion blender (alternatively, a food processor or countertop blender)
- 1 pound parsnips peeled, trimmed, and cut into pieces of roughly equal size
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion roughly chopped
- 4 ribs celery roughly chopped
- 1 medium leek (white and pale green parts only) washed well and roughly chopped
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- ¼ cup sherry (preferably a dry variety)
- kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- Heat oven to 350℉. Toss parsnips with one tablespoon of the olive oil and arrange them in a single layer on a rimmed baking pan. Roast for 30 minutes.
- Toss the onion, celery, and leek with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and add them to the pan with the partially cooked parsnips. Roast for another 30 minutes or until golden.
- Transfer the roasted vegetables to a medium saucepan and add the vegetable broth. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook, covered, about 20 minutes or until the parsnips are fork tender.
- Remove the saucepan from heat and add the cream.
- Using an immersion blender, purée the mixture until it is velvety smooth. Then stir in the maple syrup and sherry. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve the soup simply and beautifully plain or garnish it with a scattering of chopped fresh chives.