Friday, January 16, 2015

Roasted Garlic and Parsnip Soup

A heartwarming winter soup of roasted garlic and earthy parsnips makes an elegant starter with a flavourful garnish of crumbled gorgonzola cheese, toasted walnuts and drizzle of rosemary-infused olive oil. For an super silky smooth texture, the liquid can passed through a sieve once puréed, then combined with some light cream for a rich and satisfying soup sure to warm up on a cold fall or winter night.

Roasted Garlic & Parsnip Soup with Walnuts and Gorgonzola 
Serves 6

3 heads of garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, finely chopped
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
6 large parsnips, peeled, trimmed and coarsely chopped
1 cup light cream, optional
2 tablespoons lemon juice, or to taste
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and finely chopped
2 oz Gorgonzola, crumbled
1/8 cup rosemary-infused olive oil

Preheat oven to 350°F. Using a sharp knife, cut the top 1/4-inch off each head of garlic to expose the cloves, then place on a square of aluminum foil, drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil and wrap to enclose. Place on a baking sheet and roast until soft, about 30 to 35 minutes. When cool enough to handle, squeeze the garlic cloves from the skin into a small bowl and set aside, discarding the skins.

Meanwhile, heat butter and remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and stir until translucent, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the stock and chopped parsnip and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until the parsnip is very tender, about 45-60 minutes. Then add the roasted garlic and cream and purée with a hand-held blender until smooth. Return the purée to the saucepan, season with salt, freshly ground pepper and lemon juice to taste, and rewarm over medium low heat.

To serve, divide the soup among warmed bowls, and garnish with toasted walnuts, crumbled gorgonzola and a drizzle of rosemary-infused olive oil.

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