Friday, January 6, 2012

Parsnip, Leek, and Ginger Soup...and a Misty Winter Ramble


Oh, the woes of post Christmas indulgences.  The cookies, the pies, the peppermint sticks, and the creamy eggnog.

How do we descend from these lofty luxuries back into a pattern of health and wellness?

I see the juicing craze has taken over the internet.  From one blog to another beautiful juices are summoning those who are need of diet contrition.

Try as I might, I just cannot adopt the 'juicing' regime.  But, a healthy regime that fits perfectly with our resolve to vanquish our excesses... soup.  

Pulling out my favorite soup cookbook is like sitting down and  revisiting with an old friend.  

"Sit down and pull up a chair" I say as I begin flipping through the gorgeous photos of winter soups, hearty soups, spring soups, summer soups and so on.  

I often choose soups by season and after going on a really long, cold, very early morning walk the other day, I chose this parsnip soup.

Fog rolled in and blanketed the entire landscape.  I headed straight to the lakes to see the beautiful balancing act between the ripples of smooth lake water and the ghostly swirls of misty fog as they danced with one another.

Everywhere I looked, shimmering water droplets shuddered in the early morning chilliness.

Birds all lined up like beads on a necklace and snuggled next to one another to keep warm.

Root Vegetables.  I love the sound of that.  Root vegetables.  I am completely enamored with life in the late 1800's.   The practice of storing root vegetables in the cold cellars to provide nourishment throughout the long winters sounds so very seasonal to me.

Learning how to eat by season has turned into somewhat of a hobby for me.  In today's world, it is so easy to have berries in the kitchen year round that I am often amused at how little I really know about food and the natural growing seasons of fruits and vegetables.

Take parsnips for example.  The 'classic' of root vegetables.  They are an interesting root vegetable. Parsnips provide folate, calcium, potassium and fiber.

There is a parallel between the anticipation of holiday favorites like peppermint sticks during winter and molasses cookies in the fall to ushering in vegetables like parsnips in winter and asparagus in the spring.

Root vegetables really do deserve their own celebration during these long grey days of winter months.

Root vegetables in the brassica family — like turnips, kohlrabi and rutabaga — contain many of the same antioxidants as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and kale.

It isn't really necessary in today's world, but saving these seasonal fruits and vegetables to enjoy during their natural growing season is a satisfying practice for me.  

Winter = winter soups.  With a copious amount of staid root and tuber vegetables.

Tuck in.  Enjoy the warmth of a filling bowl of parsnip soup with hints of pungent ginger and a dash of white wine.  It's time to celebrate and welcome to our tables the beautiful assortment of hearty winter soups.  

Parsnip, Leek, and Ginger Soup
(serves 4-6)
adapted from the cookbook "Soup" published by Hermes House.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups sliced leeks
2 tablespoons peeled and minced ginger root
5 cups roughly chopped parsnips
1 1/4 cups dry white wine
5 cups vegetable stock or water
salt and freshly ground black pepper
fromage blanc and paprika, to garnish

Heat the oil in a large pan or dutch oven.  Add the leeks and ginger and cook slowly for 2 to 3 minutes until the leeks start to become soft.  

Add the parsnips and cook for 7 to 8 minutes longer until they begin to become soft.

Pour in the wine and stock or water and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the parsnips are tender.

Purée in a blender or food processor until smooth.  Season to taste.  Reheat and garnish with a swirl of fromage blanc and a light dusting of paprika.


  1. This looks yummy..Delicious


  2. a treat for eyes and tummy :)


  3. Beautiful post. Like you, I'm very drawn to the root vegetables this time of year and learning more about seasonal cooking. It all makes so much sense. I love a good pureed soup and this one looks exceptional. And yes, NH certainly is beautiful, especially Hanover. Just gorgeous in the fall!

  4. I don't believe in juices and I don't believe in smoothies, but I definitely believe in soup. Gingery ones in particular: Nothing else quite lifts the winter doldrums like a hot, peppery bowl.

  5. I'd so much rather have a bowl of soup like this than a big old glass of juice! I love how simple and short this recipe is!

  6. Looks so cozy.. love a bowl of hot soup. Beautiful pictures. I love the one that fog blankets the iron gates.

  7. Again, your photos are fantastic! As is this lovely, flavorful soup...perfect winter dish!

  8. Sarah, As always, your photos are are so talented and creative! And the soup looks like such yummy perfection...will have to give it a try!

  9. Stunning photos! The soup looks incredible. I wish the rest of my family loved parsnips...


  10. just looking at the bowl makes me all warm & fuzzy inside, perfect for the cold winter nights :)

  11. Lovely photos & gorgeous soup.
    I can still remember the earthy smell of the vegetables in storage during the winter in my parents barn.

  12. Delicious! what a great combo! I just made some classic ginger carrot soup, it's the perfect season for these root veggies! Gorgeous photos! Happy new year too!

  13. Bellissima ricetta e deliziose fotografie♥

  14. I am so inspired to make soup. What a beautiful post! Thanks for sharing this recipe. As always, I love your photos. Enjoy your day!

  15. I am completely in love with this post! Gorgeous photos and an intriguing recipe ... how could I resist? I've made a ton of leek-based soups but have yet to venture into parsnip territory, but you are right, winter is for root vegetables. Thank you for the inspiration!

  16. Hello there, my sweet friend. How I've missed you!
    I feel as though I have stepped into your kitchen from the cold, my cheeks are all rosy, and my tummy is growling for your delicious soup!

    You know what the problem with juicing is? The maintenance! I have a juicer. And I have the best of intentions. But oh my gosh... the unbelievable number of small parts that need to be cleaned after ONE juice???? I've got better things to do, thanks.

    Your photography just keeps blowing me away. I LOVE your fog collage. Oh, I love them. And I love you! It's so good to see you again.

  17. The fog is absolutely gorgeous!! And such a wonderful compliment to the winter soup. Well done - as always!

  18. Beautiful photos! And the soup looks really delicious!

  19. Really beautiful post and a very delicious soup -
    mary x

  20. Your photos are exceptionally beautiful. I have never tasted parsnips - I am not very adventurous with my veggies. Happy new year Sarah. We enjoyed Missouri - it was a blast.

  21. Everyone is posting about soups lately and I love it. Thanks for sharing this. I have never used leeks or ginger in my cooking. What kind of camera do you have?

  22. Soup is the perfect thing to make this month, and I have never made a parsnip soup. Thank you for the recipe, it looks delicious and your photos are just beautiful, as usual. They really capture this lovely and peaceful time of the year.

  23. What a gorgeous and dreamy post! I love everything about it, the story, the fog, the photos...and of course the soup! I really want some of your soup now ;) simply perfect. *inspired*

  24. I love the mood of your photos, and when I return to wintry Colorado tomorrow this soup will be just what I need.


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