About Deborah

Deborah is a wife, mother, grandmother, traveler, bootlegger, and a very poor speller! As Victor Hazan so eloquently puts it, Deborah has chosen Umbria to be the home of her soul. When she can’t be there in body, she spends her free time cooking & reading about Italy. She blogs mostly about food and about trips – past and future – here: Old Shoes New Trip.

About Cindy

Cindy lives in Eagle River, Alaska where her freezer is always full of salmon, halibut & shrimp. Cindy participates in several regular cooking challenges. You can read more about her cooking and life in the last frontier on her blog, Baked Alaska.

About Jan

Jan is a serious home cook who loves to read recipes and then do her own thing. Her focus is ingredient driven comfort food, often with an Italian influence. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about food and travels (next trip to Italy: May/June of 2012) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

About Palma

Palma is a Marriage & Family Therapist in Palm Desert, CA. She’s an Italian-American with a passion for cooking, entertaining, & travel to Italy. She’s always planning her next culinary adventure to Italia on her blog, Palmabella's Passions

About Sandi

Sandi is a true Southerner, but a traveler & Italian cook at heart. She lives in Alabama and knows more about fried green tomatoes than fricassees. Her family owned the WhistleStop Café for many years. Sandi also blogs at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

About Kim

Kim joins us after being our permanent sub on the Pomodori e Vino project. Kim loves to eat, drink, travel and cook - probably in that order. When she's not here, you can find her organizing and leading food, wine and beer tours in Europe as co-owner and operator of GrapeHops or blogging at What I Really Think or The Amy Foundation.

About Jerry

Jerry is a food obsessed Canadian. He learned to love Italian food as a child while eating the meals prepared by his Napolitano uncle. He learned to cook Italian foods by watching his uncle cook these feasts for the family. This love of Italian food has been honed through serious personal experimentation in eating and cooking. Willing to try most anything once, Jerry isn't so sure about tripe! Jerry also blogs at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants!

Our Subs

About Beth

Beth, along with her husband, Mike, is co-owner of two Italian Deli/Markets in St. Louis - Viviano’s Festa Italiano. When not creating yummy new menu items for the deli, she’s the pediatric research lab supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine. Read more out about Viviano’s Festa Italiano.

About Amy

Amy is a teacher in suburban Boston with far too many cookbooks, her Grandmother's meat grinder and canning jars, and a new Wolf stove. She appreciates cuisines from around the world, with a particular fondness for French, Moroccan, Italian, Vietnamese, and Indian cooking. Tweaking her cooking and eating habits resulted long-lasting weight loss and health benefits, proving that living well still tastes good. An old hobby is knitting; and a newer one is canning preserves. Read more from Amy on her blog, Destination Anywhere.

« Parsnip and Sage Puree | Main | Fall Vegetable Gratin »

Parsnip-Leek Soup

By Palma

I am a little bit of a picky eater, and while looking through the list of ingredients we will be preparing throughout this project, there were 11 foods on the list that I have either never cooked before, or don't eat! Parsnips was the first of these. Then I browsed through a few Italian cookbooks, and never saw parsnips in any of the indexes. Hmmmmm... are there no parsnips in Italy? While I don't always cook Italian, those are the ingredients and flavors I am most familiar with, and the foods I grew up on.

I bought parsnips...LOTS of them, not having the slightest idea what to do with them, or how many I would need, OR what they tasted like. The leeks at the market looked beautiful, so I also bought three large leeks, and soon decided on a parsnip-leek soup. I began peeling and chopping the little suckers, and ended up with a mountain of chopped parsnips!


The Flavor Bible said fresh ginger, so I began my soup in a BIG pot, with some butter, garlic, ginger and the chopped leeks (white and light green parts only).


I added the mountain of parsnips and 8 cups of chicken broth. I was not excited about how my hands smelled, so I threw two peeled, cubed potatoes into the mix along with some salt. I brought the mixture to a boil and let it simmer. 20 minutes later, the parsnips and potatoes were soft, so I let the "mess" cool slightly, and then attacked it with my immersion blender. The consistency was good, but it tasted like a huge pot of NOTHING! I added salt. Now it tasted like saltier NOTHING. I added a cup of cream. You got it: SALTY, CREAMY NOTHING! Brad tasted it, and was not impressed. When it had cooled slightly, I poured the contents into a smaller pot in order to refrigerate it over night. I was done with parsnips for the day! (Picture me wrinkling my nose and saying "YUCK, who eats these things?")


If I had a rating scale between 1-10 for the food we eat, with 1 being inedible and 10 being fabulous, I would say we eat at least a 7-10 every night, even if it is a simple meal, or leftovers, or a salad. Our food TASTES good. This soup was a 2 (edible) at best.

The next day, I heated up the soup, hoping the taste had improved over night. Ixnay!
The Flavor Bible said parmesan cheese goes with parsnips. I decided to fry some chopped leeks in butter to garnish the soup for our Sunday lunch. I poured a bowl, topped it with the crunchy leeks and some shaved cheese. It LOOKED delicious...


The leeks and cheese were great, but the soup was at best a 2.5! I had a fleeting thought of adding a kilo (that's what it would take) of my stash of 30 month Parmigiano-Reggiano from Italy, but decided that would be blasphemous, and a huge waste of great cheese. I thought, maybe if someone was STARVING in a cold, war-torn third world country, they would like this soup. I thought, if we had a prison or other institution nearby, I could donate it, but instead...


I will NOT be cooking parsnips again any time soon. We had a delicious fritatta for our Sunday lunch. It was a 9!

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Comments (4)


My FAVORITE post of the project so far!!!!!!!!


Fun read. Love your honesty, Palma.

Ray Anne:

This totally cracked me up. Kudos for ingenuity and honesty.


Parsnips need a little something spicy to make a good soup - cumin and coriander, or just bog-standard curry powder, as well as the ginger & garlic. Adding one or two parsnips to carrot soup works well, too.

The best thing to do with them, though, is simply to roast them around a joint of meat.

I'm stuck in the parsnip-free zone that is Northern Italy, so that photo of them going down the drain brought tears to my eyes.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 14, 2011 5:00 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Parsnip and Sage Puree.

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