Practice Makes Perfect, Thrice Over
Whereas, I have a knife skills exam this day and whereas I had a soup making class in which my instructor wanted us to hone our soup-making skills and whereas I promised to bring something to my cousins' baby-naming lunch and was assigned soup... Do you see where this is going?
After spending 45 minutes practicing dicing, julienning and brunoise-ing carrots and parsnips I had a big pile of differently shaped and not very evenly dissected root vegetables. I didn't really measure anything out so the below is an approximation of what actually happened. A few things: I wanted a more traditional autumn soup but I bet some Indian spices (I'm thinking ginger, cinnamon, cumin, cardamom, or even a jarred curry powder or garam masala) would be excellent. Also I think that a bit of reduced cream would round it out very well. As it is, it needs a little something something to make it really pop.
For the uninitiated, parsnips are what carrots who've been good and gone to heaven taste and look like. Though you might be tempted to buy the really big roots, don't if you can avoid it. The cores tend to be very woody. I highly recommend that you try them, if not in this soup, cook them with potatoes and mash with some whole milk (or if you are feeling particularly decadent, a mix of milk and cream), salt and pepper. You won't be sorry.
Fall Carrot and Parsnip Soup, from my brain
2 TB butter (or oil)
1 leek, sliced thinly (and evenly)
2 stalks celery, diced evenly
3/4 lb carrots, peeled and cut evenly, one hopes
3/4 lb parsnips, peeled...
4 cups water
2 pinches ground ginger
2 pinches ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1 pinch cayenne
salt, to taste
Melt butter in a pot over a medium-high flame. When heated, sweat leek and celery but don't let the veg color, about 4-7 minutes. Add carrots, parsnips and water. Let mixture come to a boil and reduce heat to low. Cover and let cook until parsnips are soft, about 30 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces.
Remove pot from heat, and in batches so that it is never more than half full, puree in a blender until smooth. Return soup to the pot and add the spices and salt. If you choose to add cream, now would be a good time. Gently heat soup until warmed through.