Parsnip Apple Soup with Garlic Sage Croutons

Parsnips and apples make for a deliciously sweet autumnal soup. Their natural sweetness is kept in check by the savory herbed crouton garnish, which also provide a wonderful textural contrast against the creaminess of the soup. The addition of heavy cream at the end is optional; it adds a luxurious element to an otherwise simple vegetable soup but is not required for a successful dish. In fact, if you’d like to make this vegan, simply use olive oil instead of butter, and omit the cream.

Parsnip Apple Soup with Garlic Sage Croutons

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Parsnips and apples make for a deliciously sweet autumnal soup. Their natural sweetness is kept in check by the savory herbed crouton garnish, which also provide a wonderful textural contrast against the creaminess of the soup. The addition of heavy cream at the end is optional; it adds a luxurious element to an otherwise simple vegetable soup but is not required for a successful dish. In fact, if you'd like to make this vegan, simply use olive oil instead of butter, and omit the cream.
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Servings 6

Ingredients
 

For the soup:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, or use olive oil
  • 1 medium shallots, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ¼ pounds parsnips, about 3 medium, scrubbed clean and cubed
  • 1 medium apple, peeled and cubed
  • 1 medium russet potato, about ½ pound, peeled and diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • ½ cup half and half, optional

For the croutons:

  • 3 cups cubed sourdough bread
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 sage leaves, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions
 

  • Melt the butter or olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add the shallots and ½ teaspoon salt, and cook over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the parsnips, apple, potato, bay leaf, thyme sprigs and vegetable broth, and bring to a simmer. Partially cover and cook until all the vegetables are tender, about 25-30 minutes.
  • Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs and let the soup cool slightly before transferring to a blender. Be careful when blending hot liquids, as the steam built up in the vessel can cause the contents to explode. Puree the soup until completely smooth, then transfer back to the pot. You may need to do this in batches, and you may need to add up to a cup of water or more vegetable stock to facilitate blending. Taste the soup for seasoning and add more salt if needed. This will depend on the brand of vegetable broth that you use, so taste and adjust accordingly. If using the half and half, stir it in and keep the soup warm over low heat.
  • To make the croutons, warm the oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the bread and cook, stirring, until it starts to turn golden brown. Once it has toasted evenly, turn the heat to low and add the garlic, sage and salt. Cook for a minute, stirring, then remove from the heat.
  • To serve, ladle the hot soup into bowls and garnish with croutons and fresh thyme.
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