Warm up winter with Maple Parsnip Soup

Maple Parsnip Soup

Maple Parsnip Soup - garnished with a drizzle of maple syrup

This Maple and Parsnip Soup earned a 9 out of 10 on the Murray-meter. That’s surprising considering it contains onions and dijon mustard – two things my spouse hates. No, make that despises! The recipe also calls for garlic, another ingredient on his “I don’t eat these foods because they taste or smell bad, or worse – taste AND smell bad!” list. I figured the soup would survive just fine sans garlic, so for his sake (and the sake of our marriage!), the garlic was omitted. However – the onions and mustard stayed. And the soup still got a 9 out of 10.

I have to agree with Murray’s rating. Maple Parsnip Soup really is good. In fact, very good! Parsnips give it its unique ‘sweet’ root vegetable taste. Maple syrup also adds sweetness while mustard provides some balance with its tangy flavour. You could proudly serve this soup as a “take the chill off winter” dinner starter, or for lunch or a light supper along with a sandwich or salad.

Maple Parsnip Soup

(Makes 6 servings)

3 tablespoons (45 mL) olive oil
1 lb (500 g) parsnips, chopped (2 to 3 parsnips)
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups (1.5 L) vegetable or chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) ground nutmeg
1/2 cup (125 mL) evaporated milk
1/3 cup (75 mL) maple syrup
1-1/2 to 2 tablespoons (22 to 30 mL) Dijon mustard
Salt, to taste (optional)
Optional garnishes: maple syrup, croutons or toasted pine nuts

Heat oil in a large saucepan. Add parsnips, onions and garlic; saute until onions are translucent, but not browned. Add broth and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer; cook until parsnips are soft, about 40 minutes.

Remove from heat; stir in evaporated milk. Process in a blender or food processor (in batches, if necessary) until smooth. Add maple syrup and mustard; stir until thoroughly blended. Add salt, if desired. Reheat gently.

Serve with a drizzle of maple syrup, or croutons or toasted pine nuts.

Tips:
* Substitute whipping cream for the evaporated milk, if desired.
* Adjust the amount of Dijon mustard to your liking.
* Parsnips don’t need to be peeled. Wash well and trim any bruised or brown spots.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Simply in Season by Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert, Herald Press, 2005