Cheese, The Best of Fine Cooking

Winter 2015

Cheese Winter 2015 /

Soups and Stews section

Parsnip and Parmesan Soup
Salty and savory Parmigiano Reggiano marries well with sweet parsnips, and fresh oregano pulls it all together.

Yields about 5 1/2 to 6 cups; serves five to six.

1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 pounds parsnip, peeled, trimmed, and cut into 1/2-inch dice (to yield a scant 4 cups)
6 ounces shallots, cut into 1/4-inch dice (to yield about 1 1/4 cup)
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano leaves, plus tiny sprigs for garnish
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt; more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper; more to taste
4 1/2 cups homemade or low-salt chicken or vegetable broth
1 1/2 ounces (1/2 cup) freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Melt the butter in a 5-quart or larger stockpot set over medium heat. While the butter is still foaming, add the parsnips and cook until lightly browned, 7 to 10 minutes (resist the urge to stir it too often or they won’t brown). Stir in the shallots, garlic, chopped oregano, salt, and pepper and cook until the shallots are very limp and the entire mixture is beginning to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the broth, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits in the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to maintain a low simmer, and cook until the parsnips are very soft, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the liquid cool somewhat.

Puree the soup using a stand or immersion blender (you’ll need to work in batches if using a stand blender). Return the soup to the pot and stir in the Parmigiano, soy sauce, and lemon juice. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Reheat the soup and garnish each serving with an oregano sprig, if you like.