When I was youngster, creamed corn was about the only vegetable I'd ever eat. I never grew tired of it and when entreated to try something new, I would practically convulse at the thought. And heaven knows I'd never eat parsnips or even try them. Never. Parsnips were something that my grandmother ate (she also ate tripe and pickled pig's feet, so, in my mind, she was not exactly a reliable taste tester).
Time passed, I've made a conscious effort to "grow up" my taste buds and I have learned to appreciate the cruciferous vegetables, greens, gourds, root vegetables, but parsnips escaped me until much later. And now? Well, I've acquired a taste for them, and quite frankly they'll never be a favorite, but they are so good for you that I keep trying them. If you've never tried them, they look a lot like carrots in shape, though they're creamy white. To me they taste somewhere between a carrot and a turnip--they have a natural sweetness like a carrot but have a more assertive flavor akin to a turnip.
One of my favorite blogs is The English Kitchen. Marie is a transplanted Canadian now residing in England, and she is discovering English cooking and sharing her delicious results and discoveries. Her blog is beautifully photographed and written; everything she prepares looks delicious. And it was there that I found this recipe for parsnip, apple and thyme soup. I hope you take some time to peruse her blog and maybe even try this soup. It reminds me of the soups I've tried from Campbell's Select soups.
(from The English Kitchen)
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon medium curry powder
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
3 large parsnips, peeled and chopped
1 large cooking apple, peeled and chopped (I used 3 small Granny Smiths)
5 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup cream
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
extra virgin olive, croutons and some fresh thyme leaves as garnish
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and curry powder. Cook and stir over medium low heat until the onion softens.
Stir in the parsnips, apple and thyme sprig. Cook and stir to coat in the oil and spice. (You may need to add a bit more oil). Add the chicken stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until the apple and parsnip is quite soft.
Puree until smooth with a stick blender or in a blender in small batches, taking care to cover the blender so you don't get burned. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Return to the pot and stir in the cream and heat through.
Serve hot, ladled into heated bowls. Top each serving with a drizzle of olive oil, some croutons and some thyme leaves.