Parsnip Soup wuth Toasted Pecans and Feta

Serves 8

60g unsalted butter
2 large leeks (white part only), sliced
2 potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
1kg parsnips, peeled and cut into cubes
2.25L chicken or vegetable stock
165ml (2/3 cup) thin cream
80g pecans, toasted and chopped
extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle
120g feta, crumbled
chopped parsley, to garnish

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over low heat.  Add leeks and cook, stirring regularly, for 8 minutes or until softened.  Stir in the potato and parsnip and cook for 10 minutes, stirring every now and then so the vegetables don't color.  Add stock and 2-3 teaspoons salt.  Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.  As soon as it's boiling, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.  Remove from heat.

Cool slightly, then blend with a stick blender (or in batches in a regular blender) until smooth.  Stir in cream, then taste and season.  Reheat gently over low heat - do not allow to boil.  Just before serving, mix pecans with a small drizzle of oil to give them a shine.  Ladle soup into bowls and top with feta.  Finish off with a sprinkling of pecans, a drizzle of olive oil, a grinding of black pepper and garnish with parsley.

The Culinary Chase's Note:  If you like, you can make a big batch and freeze but make sure to leave out the cream. If you find the soup is too thick, add some hot water.

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