A Post-Holiday Recipe: Parsnip and Fennel Soup

Photo: mhaithaca

Cold weather has finally crept into Los Angeles, and the time for soup is upon us. This recipe is great for the chillier seasons -- it's hearty, flavorful, and a perfect wintry white. Root vegetables are harvested this time of year, and soup is a great way to utilize them. Parsnips especially lend themselves to flavor manipulation, and are wonderful paired with the delicate, intriguing taste of fennel. Serve this soup with crusty garlic bread for dipping and a good white wine.

Parsnip and Fennel Soup
2 tbsp butter or olive oil
1 1/2 pound parsnips, peeled and cut in thick slices
1 bulb fennel, cut in thick slices
1 leek, cleaned and sliced in thick rings
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 cup white wine
6 cups chicken broth (vegetable works too)
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, melt the butter (or heat the oil) over a medium high flame.

Add the vegetables, and stir occasionally for several minutes until they begin to lightly caramelize.

Add the wine, and boil until it cooks off, then add enough broth to cover the vegetables by an inch.

Raise the heat until the broth boils, then reduce the heat to a simmer.

Cover and let the vegetables cook until they're tender, about half an hour.

Using an immersion blender (or in batches in a regular blender or food processer), blend until the soup is a smooth purée. If the soup is too thick, add broth as needed and add salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with chives, a small piece of the fennel frond, or fennel seeds.

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