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Vegetable Challenged November 11, 2010

Posted by Toy Lady in Cooking, Food, soupe du semaine.
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Would you believe that, up until a couple of years ago, I had never, to my knowledge, tasted a leek?

Same goes for parsnips.

I know I’d never cooked with either of them.

Can you imagine?Photobucket

Clearly, being brought up in a meat-and-potatoes sort of family has put me at a distinct veggie disadvantage, hasn’t it?

Peeps and I are fortunate to have the Public Market here in town, and, along with the great deals on pork belly, there are also dozens (many dozens) of vendors, including fish mongers, butchers, food distributors, jewelry makers, and local farmers, just to name a few.

All of which, in addition to some great prices, means that the variety and selection are amazing.

And it means that, for a buck or two, I can pick up a basket or bag of any given vegetable to at least try it if I haven’t had it before, or stock up on it if I have.

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So of course, the first time we saw parsnips, it was a no-brainer – a buck for a good pound of them?

Gimme.

Same goes for leeks – which I fell in love with the first time I tried them.

We both decided that we approve of parsnips, so, once they come into season, I’m always right there with my dollar bill!

Sadly, though, since I have this bad habit (or not so bad, depending on your perspective) of buying lots and lots of fresh produce when it’s locally in season (I ask you, how can be a bad thing?), sometimes, things get put away and I, um, kind of forget about them.

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OK, I guess that can be kind of bad.

But fear not!  I’m getting better at, if not keeping track, at least finding stuff in the fridge before it’s too late!

So where was I going with this again?

Leeks and parsnips.  Yes.  Oh, and apples.

See, here’s what happened.  First, the leeks this year have been beautiful.  Absolutely GORGEOUS.  So I keep buying them.  Right now, I have two baggies of cleaned leeks in the veggie drawer of the fridge.  (I see creamy leek soup in my future.)

Then the parsnips started.

We like parsnips, so I had to pick up some of those, too, now didn’t I?

PhotobucketThen we picked apples.

We’re not going to talk about the pumpkins, squash, and kale, OK?

Anyway.  I happened upon this recipe – it’s like it was calling my name – for creamy parsnip soup.  And you know what was in it besides a pound of parsnips?

Go ahead, guess.  I’ll wait.

Did you guess leeks?

And apples?

Not to mention a couple of kind of small, sort of old-ish potatoes and a pint of homemade chicken stock.

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How lovely!

And, really, that’s about it.  I just sauteed a couple of cups of liced leeks in a teeny-tiny amount of butter, peeled and whacked up a pound or so of parsnips, a couple of apples, and a couple of small potatoes and dumped those in, along with a pint of chicken stock and 4 cups (2 pint jars full) of water.  Add a little salt and pepper, because, well, obviously.

Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat, partially cover, and let it simmer on the back burner while you go about your business – about half an hour or so, until the vegetables (and apples!) are tender.

PhotobucketIf that were it, well, that would be a pretty lame soup, wouldn’t it?  And certainly not very creamy.

So we crack out the stick blender – and puree the heck out of the soup.

Yes, you could use the blender, and our soup will be marginally smoother.  However, our blender lives in the basement because we have a kitchen the size of a postage stamp, and, frankly, I get tired of running up and down the stairs.

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Sad, I know.

Now, when we initially tasted this soup for seasoning, I was a little concerned that it was kind of dull.

But we all know that almost any soup will benefit from an overnight stay in the fridge, right?

And from some chopped, browned bacon sprinkled on top, too.

(If you clicked on the recipe I linked to, you’ll see that, originally, I was directed to “reserve” half a cup of the sliced leeks, then saute them for a garnish  I’d rather include all the leeks in the soup and add  some bacon.  Just saying.)

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NOW it’s done – and it was amazing!

And for what it’s worth, and since there are just the two of us – the leftovers reheated beautifully Saturday afternoon in the wee little (1.5 quart) crockpot – giving me time to fuss with the Pita Experiment.

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Comments

1. judy - November 11, 2010

Soup everywhere! I like parsnips too so this one sounded very good, warm and smooth! Nice. judy

I know, Jude. I recently realized that it seems like we’re eating soup all the time! But I so love the fresh vegetables – and they’re so good in the soups!

2. Anne - November 11, 2010

I keep meaning to try leeks, but so far I haven’t. They’re not especially thrifty here, so I usually shy away. Perhaps I’ll take the plunge!

I know what you mean, Anne. They’re criminally expensive in the supermarkets! I mean, I can get a bunch of them – often 3 or 4 – for a couple of bucks – and they retail for something like $4 – a POUND! (And half of it isn’t even really edible!) Fennel is the same way – ridiculously expensive in the store, and they practically give it away at the public market.


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