I am really proud of myself for this one, guys. You could probably guess I was a little nervous about what to do with my parsnips and sunchokes. I find both these vegetables a little alien and I have only recently started experimenting with them.
Following my gut and combining them in a soup with leeks turned out to be a stroke of genius.
The soup I made is really simple. But do not be deceived, the subtle complexity of the flavor it packs is absolutely divine and the creamy texture of the sunchokes makes it luxuriously silky.
The finishing touch is the juice and zest of a Meyer lemon, an addition that brightens and balances the creaminess of this soup. In a pinch you could use a regular lemon, but I really recommend making an effort to find the real thing.
Because this soup is so easy it is perfect for a weekday lunch or dinner. But the rich, earthy flavors would make an excellent first course for your Thanksgiving meal as well.
Silky Parsnip and Sunchoke Soup
- 3 large parsnips
- 5 medium sunchokes
- 1 large leek
- 3-1/2 cups cold water
- 1 chicken bouillon cube
- 1/2 Meyer lemon
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Scrub and peel the parsnips and chop them into small slices (in half in necessary), about 1/3 inch thick. Scrub the sunchokes as well, but do not bother to peel them. Instead use a pairing knife to remove any rough patches. Cut the sunchokes into 1/4 inch slices.
Clean the leek very carefully and chop it into thick sections, as described previously. In a large soup pot heat olive oil and add leeks. Saute the leeks for about 2 minutes, then add the parsnips and sunchokes. Lightly salt and pepper. Continue to saute, stirring frequently for about 10 minutes, or until the vegetables become soft and partially translucent.
Add 2 cups of water and the bouillon cube to the vegetables and bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the vegetables are completely tender, turn off heat and add the remaining water. Use a hand blender* to finely puree the vegetables.
Before I got to this step I was certain that I was going to end up straining this soup. Most good pureed soups need straining to thin them out. While you are welcome to do this, I found it was not necessary if I pureed the vegetables long enough, probably because of the texture of the sunchokes. This does take some patience, however. Puree the mix for at least 5 minutes.
Once you have finished blending the soup you can heat it up again if necessary. Otherwise, squeeze the lemon half into the soup and add the zest (leaving some aside for garnish). Adjust salt.
Ladle soup into bowls, garnish with zest and freshly ground pepper and serve. You can drizzle more lemon juice on top as well, it is delicious.
*Note: I am of the opinion that whoever invented the hand blender deserves a Nobel prize. These things make pureeing soup a snap, and are easy to store and clean. This is the one I use (I have also added this item to my sidebar if you want to purchase it from Amazon). If you do not have one and want to make this soup immediately, a regular blender will suffice. However, be very careful when blending hot liquid and do not fill the blender more than halfway at a time unless you want to be doused with scalding hot soup. Hold the lid down firmly with a kitchen towel for your protection.