I fully understand that it is potentially blasphemous for me, as a proud New Englander, to suggest chowder be made without seafood. But this really lovely recipe for a parsnip chowder—it does have potatoes—does that count?
Okay even though no clams or other seafood ar ein this recipe, but I really love this chowder—it is too thick and rich to be a soup. That richness comes from potatoes and parsnips and just a bit of cream, so all this deliciousness doesn't come with a health advisory!
1 1/2 pounds parsnips, peeled
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
1 small Russet potato, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, plus 1 tablespoon for garnish
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine or dry white vermouth
6 cups chicken stock
1 cup light cream or whole milk, as needed
Fresh lemon juice Pinch sugar
Set aside 1 large or 2 small parsnips for the "croutons." Coarsely chop the remaining parsnips.
Heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a soup pot or large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and celery and sautê until tender and translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the chopped parsnips, potato, thyme, coriander, and salt and pepper to taste. Sautê, stirring a few times, until heated through, about 5 minutes. Add the wine or vermouth, bring to a boil and reduce by half, about 4 minutes. Add the stock, cover partway, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Continue to simmer until the parsnips and potatoes are tender enough to mash easily against the side of the pot with a large spoon, about 40 minutes.
Let the soup cool, uncovered, for at least 10 minutes (this makes it a little safer to blend). Filling a blender no more than two-thirds full, puree the soup in batches. Rinse out the soup pot and return the pureed soup to it. The soup may be made ahead up to this point and kept refrigerated (well-covered) for up to 2 days.
Meanwhile, make the parsnip “croutons:" cut the reserved parsnip(s) into 1/4-inch dice. Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter stops foaming, add the diced parsnips. Season with salt and pepper and a large pinch of sugar. Sautê, stirring and shaking the pan often, until the parsnips are nicely browned. Transfer to paper towel to drain. Set aside until ready to serve. The croutons may also be made ahead and refrigerated in a single layer for up to 1 day.
To serve, gently reheat the soup, adding the cream or milk until you achieve the consistency you're after. Taste for salt and pepper. Just before serving, add a squeeze or fresh lemon juice (from about 1/2 lemon), to taste. Ladle into soup bowl, garnish with parsnip "croutons" and remaining fresh thyme.
(Courtesy: Yankee Magazine)
Annie B. Copps is a senior editor at Yankee Magazine. Annie oversees the magazine's food coverage, both as an editor and as a contributor of feature stories and columns.
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