Sunday, October 17, 2010

Creamy Parsnip Soup with Wild Rice & Chicken

    When you live on the opposite side of the planet from where you used to, like I do, there's a delight in coming across familiar foodstuffs that I thought I had left behind. Wild rice, for example, is such a common, local item in Minnesota that I did a double take when I walked past a big sack of it at the store here the other day. I scooped some up, noted its superspendy price tag, and headed home to make some sort of wild rice soup, reminiscent of Midwest autumns.

    I wanted to create a twist on an old classic and so instead of a rich, cream-based chicken and wild rice soup, I started by making a parsnip puree. From there I added in cooked wild rice and chicken and topped it off with some fresh, green snipped chives.

    I'm a huge parsnip fan. There's something about their mellow spiciness that sets them apart from other root vegetables. The texture when pureed was perfect - silky and creamy. I actually used lowfat milk instead of half & half or heavy cream and I didn't miss the extra fat one bit.
    • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 cup chopped onion
    • 1 medium russet potato, peeled and cubed
    • 4 medium parsnips, trimmed, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
    • 1/2 cup dry white wine
    • 3 cups chicken stock
    • 1 cup milk
    • 1 cup shredded, cooked chicken
    • 1 cup cooked wild rice, plus more for garnish
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
    Over medium-low heat, melt the butter and the olive oil together in a large pot. Add the onion and saute until translucent, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add the potato and parsnips to the pot and stir to coat. Cook for a couple minutes, turn the heat to medium-high and add the wine. Briskly simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed. Pour in the stock and bring to a simmer again. Simmer until the vegetables are very soft, about 25 minutes.

    Ladle the soup into a blender, pureeing it in batches. Transfer the puree as you go into a bowl. When all the soup is pureed, return it to the pot, and set over low heat. Stir in the milk. Add the wild rice and chicken and cook until heated through. Taste and add salt and pepper.

    Spoon the soup into bowls, garnish with additional wild rice and fresh chives and serve.

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