Make this vegetarian by substituting vegetable stock or water for the chicken stock. Serves 6.
2 lbs parsnips, ends trimmed, peeled
1 medium red or sweet onion, peeled and quartered
2 cloves garlic, whole but not peeled
Sea salt & black pepper
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large pear (or 2 medium), any variety, peeled and cubed
2 cups homemade chicken stock, or low-sodium store-bought (I use Swanson 99% Fat Free)
1-2 Tbsp minced fresh thyme (or parsley, marjoram, chives, or a mixture), to taste
1/4 cup heavy cream (optional)
Preheat oven to 375°F. Place parsnips, onion and garlic on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt, pepper and olive oil, and toss to coat. Roast for 30-40 minutes, or until vegetables are lightly browned. Remove pan from oven, and set aside for 10 minutes. Cut parsnips into chunks and put in a soup pot on the stove with onion, peeled garlic, pear, and chicken stock, plus water to almost cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cook, uncovered, until the pear is tender (15 minutes). Add herbs; cook 5 minutes more. Use an immersion blender to purée the soup in the pot (or purée in batches in a blender). Add cream if you wish. Season with sea salt and lots of freshly-ground black pepper, to taste. Serve hot, garnished with snips of fresh herbs.