Friday, June 24, 2011

Parsnip potage パースニップポタージュ

We like to have soup or some kind of side dish we can eat on a weekday. We make these dishes in quantity on the weekend and then use it the rest of the week. My wife suggested we clean up parsnips パースニップ* in our fridge by making some kind of soup or potage. She said she would like to have pieces of carrot in the potage to provide texture and color. Without further detailed instructions from her, this is what I came up with (not based on any recipe).

(*Digression Alert!: I did not know this root vegetable until I came to the U.S.. I am not sure this is available in Japan. Parsnip is know as the most favorite food of Gub-gub the pig in Dr. Dolittle's story. I read the entire series as a kid. It was translated by Masuji Ibuse 井伏鱒二 into Japanese. But I do not remember how he translated "parsnip" into Japanese. Japanese Wiki states "オランダボウフウ" to be a Japanese name for parsnip but that does not help most Japanese readers.)

I used parsnips (6), peeled and cut into small cubes, onion (1 medium, finely chopped), fennel bulb (1/3 chopped, I just happened to have this leftover and is optional), celery (3 stalks finely chopped), garlic (2 cloves, finely chopped) and potatoes (2 medium, Yukon gold, peeled and cubed). 

In a large pot on medium flame, I added light olive oil (4 tbs) and sauteed the above except for potatoes and parsnips for several minutes or until the onion became semi-transparent. I then added the parsnips and potatoes. I poured in low-sodium Swanson chicken broth (32 oz), bay leaves (3) and let it simmer for 30 minutes or until all the vegetables are soft. I then pureed it using an immersion blender. I added light cream (1/2 cup) toward the end of pureeing.

Meanwhile, I cooked carrot (4 medium, peeled and cut into small round or half round) in the chicken broth with bay leaves (2) and black pepper corns (4-5).

I tasted the potage and added salt and fresh ground white pepper (I did not use black pepper to prevent black specks from floating in the white potage).

To serve, I added the cooked carrot and chopped parsley as a garnish. Parsnips have nice sweetness with a very distinctive flavor. The potatoes and cream added silky smoothness to the potage. Since carrot and parsnip are "relatives", this combination worked very well. Very satisfying and unctuous soup/potage to start and my wife was impressed with this parsnip potage. I said I could make a similar potage from "daikon" 大根 but she did not encourage me in that endeavor--can't understand why.

(The following was added on April 22, 2012)

Parsnip potage Version2

This is another variation of parsnip soup. One weekend, my wife decided to make another version of parsnip potage. The addition of apples made the potage very good and different from the original.

2 packages of parsnips cut into pennies (about 12 parsnips)
2 onions diced
2 apples diced
1 potato peeled and diced
1 1/2 Package of Low-sodium and non-fat chicken broth (Swanson bland, one package=32oz)

 sweat the onions, add the parsnips and potatoes and chicken broth. Cook until tender. Just before pureeing add the apple and let them cook a few minutes. Puree. Lovely fresh flavor. The apple and parsnips go well together.

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