A while back I bought some parsnips to use in a recipe and inadvertently bought twice as many as I actually needed. The parsnip puree I’d intended to make was delicious– light and creamy and earthily sweet, as parsnips are– but what was I supposed to do with the rest of them?
The answer came in the form of a line from my daughter’s copy of Tangled (okay, I admit it, it’s not her copy, we bought it before she was born because we liked it so much). In it, Mother Gothel returns to the tower, gleefully proclaiming that she’s got a surprise– parsnips! To make Rapunzel’s favorite hazelnut soup for dinner! Well, parsnip and hazelnut soup sounded delicious, and I had some leftover hazelnuts in the freezer just begging to be used, so it was time to get started!
If you enjoy garlic, you MUST try this soup. If you don’t enjoy garlic you should try this soup anyway, because it’ll make a convert out of you. Seriously, this is an amazing soup, and once I’d taken my first sip I immediately decided that this was one to add to my recipe rotation. Yes, it uses a lot (a whole lot) of garlic, but the flavor isn’t overpowering– it’s sweet, slightly smoky, creamy, velvety, and really just perfect. Did I mention you needed to try this soup? You need to try this soup.
It starts off with a ton of roasted garlic, then you add a bunch of onions and raw garlic, and simmer it all together to let the flavors meld. Fresh thyme adds another dimension of flavor, cream gives it a bit more body, and the last-minute squeeze of lemon keeps it from being cloying. I served mine with some cheese toast, but a thick slice of plain sourdough bread would also be a great accompaniment. Or salad, I guess you could have salad if you insist on something green…
For the next installment of Reader’s Digest(ibles), I’m going with white soup. Originating in 17th Century France, white soup (a variation of it, at least) became a popular food to serve at balls in Jane Austen’s time. The dish is referenced in Pride and Prejudice by Mr. Bingley, as he plans the Netherfield Ball.
“By the bye, Charles, are you really serious in meditating a dance at Netherfield?—I would advise you, before you determine on it, to consult the wishes of the present party; I am much mistaken if there are not some among us to whom a ball would be rather a punishment than a pleasure.”
“If you mean Darcy,” cried her brother, “he may go to bed, if he chuses, before it begins—but as for the ball, it is quite a settled thing; and as soon as Nicholls has made white soup enough I shall send round my cards.”
When I first read the book in high school I had no idea what “white soup” could be, and given the context I initially speculated that it might be some weird term for envelope paste or something necessary for the invitations. But eventually I learned that it was an actual soup, and when considering what to make next for this series it immediately presented itself as an option. As implied by its name it’s a creamy soup, generally based on a meat stock, thickened with bread, and it includes almonds.
This recipe isn’t a project, per se, but it’s my favorite soup, hands down, and I thought it worthwhile to share with everyone. It’s a great use for fresh corn, as it preserves the sweetness and the slight crunch of the corn while warming it up with smoky paprika and bacon. The shrimp is just icing on the cake (err… not a particularly appetizing metaphor… let’s go with “gilding the lily”).
The soup is made all in one pot, which makes it an easy weekday meal, and it reheats well (if there’s any left!). If you want to be particularly impressive, go with jumbo shrimp, but it’s just as good with smaller ones. I could eat this every week…