I’ve got a slew of complicated recipes ready to share, but this week they just felt like too much. It’s been another crazy week around here, and right now I think a simple soup is in order. With rain in the forecast pretty much every day next week, we’re all going to need a little warmth. The recipe combines sweet roasted parsnips with lots of shallots and a bit of bacon for smoky flavor; there are undertones of bay, black pepper, and white wine. Simply put, this roasted parsnip soup is velvety, comforting, and warm.
Roasted Parsnip Soup with Bacon and Shallots
5 – 6 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into a 1/2 inch cube (roughly 2 1/2 cups)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
4 strips bacon
4 large shallots, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoon bacon fat
1 tablespoon butter
3 cups broth
6 bay leaves (fresh, if possible)
2 cups water
1/4 cup white wine
1 – 2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
pinch celery seed
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spread the cubed parsnips on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast parsnips until golden brown, roughly 25 – 30 minutes. Use a spatula to turn them over half way through. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, in a dutch oven or large pot, cook the bacon strips over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove the bacon strips and pour off all but 2 tablespoons bacon fat. Add the butter and shallots, and sauté until the shallots are golden brown and have crisped on the edges. Reserve 2 tablespoons sautéed shallots.
Slice the bacon into thin crosswise strips. Reserve 2 tablespoons bacon, and mix with the reserved shallots, set aside.
Add the parsnips and bacon to the pot, and cook for a minute or two. Add the broth and bay, bring up to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and set aside. Using a blender or hand blender, puree the soup, adding 1 – 2 cups water as needed until it is thick, but velvety.
Gently heat the puree. Add the wine and stir. Check salt levels, and add 1 – 2 teaspoons as needed. Add the pepper and celery seed. Ladle into bowls, and garnish with reserved shallot and bacon mixture, a twist of ground black pepper, a bay leaf, and maybe a bit of toast.