Happy almost Saint Patrick’s Day everybody!! We all know that potatoes are a traditional Irish food, but did you also know that parsnip soup finds its way into many Irish cookbooks? It’s true. In the spirit of all things Irish, we combined potatoes and parsnips into a rich and creamy soup. Then we decided to pile on roasted potatoes and parsnips, sharp cheddar cheese, and turkey bacon. For a bit of the green, there’s an easy Italian parsley oil to drizzle right on top. And of course, we didn’t forget the Guiness….. that would just be wrong.
The soup itself is a cool breeze to make. Saute an onion, peel and cut up equal parts Yukon Gold potatoes and parsnips, season well and throw them all into a pot and cook in water until soft. See? I told you so. When the vegetables are softened, add an equal part of milk and blend until silky smooth. You are going to swear this soup is full of cream, but there isn’t a drop in sight – the vegetables do all the work in that department. The Irish add cumin to their soup, so I figured why not. The cumin adds a nice, earthy mellowness that will make you keep coming back for another spoonful. Let’s pretend our soup is simmering on the stove, and we can get going on all the additions… In the spirit of ‘more is more’ we’ll start with some shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Hold back an extra potato and parsnip and dice them up, add some oil and ground chili pepper, and roast until softened…and then how about some diced turkey bacon? This has proven to be a good strategy.
It is St. Patrick’s Day we are celebrating, so let’s invite some green to this party. Here’s a super easy Italian parsley oil you can make in all of two minutes. Parsley, canola oil, a little salt and juice of half a lemon go into a blender and are blended like crazy for about two minutes. All that’s left is straining out the solids with a fine mesh strainer and you have a beautiful result. Drizzle it on the soup and get that herbaceous kick that brings everything to life. You’ll have extra oil, which is a good thing. This is great on rice, pasta, steamed vegetables and just about anything else you can think of.
Soup is done, garnishes are on…
I’d say it’s time to pour a Guinness, grab some crusty rolls and go to town.
Happy Shamrock Day!!! xoxoxox
- 4 parsnips, peeled and cut into ½ inch slices
- 1 parsnip, peeled and cut into ¼ inch dice (for garnish)
- 4-5 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ inch slices
- 1 Yukon Gold potato, peeled and cut into ¼ inch dice (for garnish)
- About ½ teaspoon chili powder (for garnish)
- 1 yellow onion, cut into ½ inch slices
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp. canola oil
- 1-quart water
- 1-quart milk (can be 2% or whole milk)
- Plenty of salt and pepper to taste (white pepper is recommended to preserve color)
- PARSLEY OIL
- 1 cup canola or other neutral tasting oil
- 1 cup roughly chopped Italian parsley
- Juice of ½ small lemon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- OTHER OPTIONAL GARNISHES
- 1-2 cups shredded sharp cheddar or other cheese of your choosing
- ½ pound of turkey bacon, fried and cut into small dice
- In a large Dutch Oven, sauté the onion in canola oil until softened but not brown.
- Add the minced garlic and continue sautéing until garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the 4 parsnips and 4-5 Yukon Gold potatoes that have been sliced to the pot.
- Add water and a generous amount of salt (start with 2 teaspoons) and pepper and bring to boil.
- Reduce heat to high simmer and continue cooking until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Don’t be in a rush – you will be very mad if you try to puree the vegetables and they are not cooked through.
- When vegetables are tender, allow to cool slightly, then add the milk. Puree with an immersion blender, or use a blender and puree in small batches until silky smooth.
- Return to pot and taste. Adjust seasonings until you have just the right about of salt and pepper to suit your palate.
- Preheat oven to 375.
- On a foil lined baking sheet, spread the diced parsnip and diced potato. Drizzle liberally with canola oil, add a touch of salt, and sprinkle with chili powder.
- Bake until parsnips and potatoes are tender, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside until ready to use.
- PARSLEY OIL
- Place oil in the blender, and add the parsley, salt, and lemon juice.
- Process for 2 minutes at high speed. The mixture will be a beautiful green color.
- Pour the mixture into a fine mesh strainer (or use cheesecloth), and strain out the remaining solids. This will take awhile so be patient. It’s best not to mash the mixture down, because your oil will become cloudy, but feel free to stir it around to loosen it up a little. This will encourage the oil to separate out faster.
- Reserve oil and KEEP REFRIGERATED until ready to use. DISGARD ANY UNUSED OIL AFTER 3 WEEKS OR FREEZE IF YOU AREN’T GOING TO USE RIGHT AWAY. THE OIL IS NOT SAFE TO CONSUME AFTER 3 WEEKS.
- TO SERVE
- Pour hot soup into bowls. Drizzle with parsley oil.
- Add diced parsnip and potato.
- Optional but really good: Scatter bowl with sharp cheddar or whichever cheese you choose, and add diced turkey bacon.