Monday, January 9, 2017

Leek & Parsnip Soup with Mushrooms

In times like these, with the world getting weirder by the minute, sometimes you just need to shut the door, get into your pajamas, and curl up with a big bowl of soup. I whipped up a pot of this one on a frigid January night and it was exactly what was called for: hearty yet light, earthy yet sweet, a perfect vehicle for crusty bread, and an all-round, comforting hug for body and soul. My only regret is that I didn't make three times as much, because it was so popular (even my once-picky-and-suspicious son declared it "fucking delicious") that there's hardly any left over. Live and learn!

Leek & Parsnip Soup with Mushrooms
~ 2 tbsp. olive oil
~ 2 large leeks, chopped
~ 2 stalks celery, diced
~ 2 lbs. parsnips, diced
~ 2 large potatoes, diced
~ 1 tsp. each: salt, thyme, smoked paprika
~ ½-1 tsp. white pepper, to taste
~ ¼ tsp. each: nutmeg, cayenne
~ cup dry sherry
~ 7 cups "no chicken" broth (or other good vegan stock)
~ 4 bay leaves
~ 1 tbsp. olive oil
~ 1 lb. brown mushrooms, sliced

~ In a large, deep pot, saute the leeks and the celery over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes.
~ Add the parsnips, potatoes, and dry seasonings, and mix to coat the vegetables. Continue cooking for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
~ Stir in the sherry to deglaze the pan; cook another minute or so, until some of the alcohol burns off.
~ Pour in the broth and the bay leaves, cover the pot, and bring just to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and cook for 30 minutes, giving it the occasional stir.
~ After 30 minutes, fish out the bay leaves and puree the soup with an immersion blender until the mixture is completely smooth. Keep the soup hot over low heat.
~ Now get a large, non-stick skillet screaming hot and cook the sliced mushrooms in the remaining tbsp. of olive oil until brown and slightly crispy. Stir the cooked mushrooms into the soup and serve hot.

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