'Let's cook it until we raise That heavy autumnal cloud From its bowels Even if it takes a hundred years...
What do you think it will taste like?
...We'll dive into the soup With a grain of salt between our teeth And won't come up Until we learn its song.’
Excerpted from Soup by Charles Simic
With the knowledge that Hurricane Sandy could come knocking at any moment, we had friends to dinner on Sunday. I made soup for the occasion. You might think that here in the mountains of New England, we had no reason to worry about a coastal storm doing us harm, but Irene had been here just over a year ago. Homes were wiped out, towns destroyed, farms swept away. Our little part of the world has still not fully recovered, so the possibility of another devastating storm was a weight. But we were able to calm ourselves through the magic of hot soup, conversation and friendship.
What is it about soup that is so comforting? Is it the aromas that fill the house as it simmers on the stove? Is it the steam that emanates from each piping hot bowl? Or is it the knowledge that for centuries people all over the planet have taken bits of flavor—the ends of vegetables, leftover meats, sprigs of fresh herb—and simmered them together in a broth to combine the flavors into one marvelous elixir? Soup. Simple, calming soup.
I came upon this Roasted Parsnip and Apple Soup with Mustard Croutons in Small Plates and Sweet Treats * by Aran Goyoaga. The combination of the spicy parsnips and sweet apples is perfect for this time of year. Along with Aran’s crunchy croutons, I served it garnished with crispy smoked bacon and accompanied by roasted potatoes, a wedge of cheese and freshly baked rolls. This satisfying meal helped us push the impending storm to the back of our minds while we savoured our time together.
Sandy has come and gone. We were spared any real damage here, but my heart goes out to those on the coast who have lost so much. My extended family was in the heart of things in Manhattan and on Long Island. Thankfully, they are fine. The beach where I grew up is gone. Power is out. Businesses remain closed, but life goes on.
I look forward to seeing you in my kitchen, gathering flavors, soon.
ROASTED APPLE AND PARSNIP SOUP
Yield: 6 to 8 Servings
- 1 pound (450g) parsnips, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (90 ml)olive oil, plus more for garnish
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 celery stalk, diced
- 2 medium Pink Lady or Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced
- 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 5 cups (1.25 L) chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 3 slices gluten-free bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- Grated Gruyère cheese, for garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Toss the diced parsnips, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon of the slat, and 1/4 teaspoon of the black pepper on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, turning the parsnips halfway through the cooking process.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and celery. Cook the vegetables for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until tender but not browned.
3. Add the roasted parsnips, apples, potatoes, chicken stock, coriander, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and simmer for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
4. Meanwhile, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). In a small bowl, whisk together the Dijon mustard, remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, and thyme leaves. Add the diced bread cubes and toss them in the dressing. Lay the croutons on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, until golden and crispy.
5. Puree the soup in a blender. Serve the soup with the croutons, olive oil and Gruyère. The soup will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 day, or it can be frozen for up to 1 month.
1. This recipe is from Small Plates and Sweet Treats: My Family's Journey to Gluten-free Cooking by Aran Goyoaga, creator of Canelle et Vanille. Aran gave me permission to publish this recipe on Gathering Flavors.
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