With cold weather knocking at our doors, we tend to turn to comfort foods to please both palate and soul. Made with love, care, and life-affirming intentions, a good soup is an instant heart-warmer.
This Roasted Parsnip and Garlic Soup with Mushrooms is sure to be filling for both body and spirit. The parsnips, a naturally sweet root vegetable, bring a unique sweetness to the recipe, while the mushrooms provide an earthy, grounding taste that helps us remain centered as the leaves fall and the wind swirls. Mushrooms contain powerful healing properties that boost our immune systems as the cold weather sets in.
Roasted Parsnip and Garlic Soup with Mushrooms
Old or large parsnips can have a hard core, particularly near the top. If you find that your parsnips are overly woody, cut out and discard the hardest part.
Prep time: approximately 10 minutes
Cook time: approximately 45 minutes
1 pound parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 head garlic
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 rib celery (including leaves), chopped
4 to 5 cups organic chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon white pepper or to taste (white pepper adds spiciness)
1/2 cup great northern beans
6-8 ounces mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
1 scallion, white bulb removed and sliced into thin pieces
salt to taste
- Preheat oven to 400F. Place the parsnip cubes in a baking pan. Cut the top off of the head of garlic, just enough to expose the tops of the cloves. Place it on a square of parchment paper, spritz it quickly with a half-second spray of olive oil (optional), and wrap it up. (this prevents the garlic from drying out in the heat of the oven.) Place the parchment paper package in the baking pan with the parsnips and put it into the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, turn over the parsnips, and cook for 10-15 more minutes until parsnips are tender and just touched with brown. Remove from oven and allow the garlic to cool in its wrapper.
- Heat a non-aluminum saucepan and cook the onion at low heat until it’s translucent. Add the celery and cook for a couple minutes more. Add 3 cups of the broth, the parsnips, and the pepper. Squeeze the garlic out of the cloves into the pan. Cook for a few minutes, until parsnips have softened. Add the beans.
- Puree the soup in one of two ways: (1) place it into a blender in one or two batches, being careful not to fill more than half full and adding more broth if necessary, or (2) use a stick blender and carefully blend right in the pan. The smoother you get it, the better, so a Vita-Mix or other high-powered blender is great here. Return the pureed soup to the pan and warm over low heat. If the soup is too thick, add more broth until it reaches your desired consistency. Keep it covered because it will “erupt” from time to time.
- Cook the sliced mushrooms in a small skillet until they soften and release their juices. Season them with salt (optional) and add the green onion. Stir most of them into the soup, setting some nice-looking ones aside to use as a garnish. Season with salt and white pepper to taste (careful with the white pepper if you don’t like things spicy!)
For a cream of mushroom-type soup, add the mushrooms with the celery and cook until softened. Blend with the other vegetables as directed.
Remember, eating well and maintaining a healthy lifestyle throughout the year will help you continue to live a vibrant, beautiful life.