Wanted: Caramelized pear and parsnip bisque
The chef at my University Club does the most amazing soups at all times of year and I faithfully get a cup every time I'm there. Today, however, I had a soup so incredible that I can't NOT try to recreate it at home. However, I don't have a lot of soup experience. After running a number of searches for pear and parsnip bisques or other similar combinations, I didn't come up with much that looked appetizing.
Does anyone here have a recipe for a parsnip bisque that they've enjoyed and that I can use as a springboard?
I have a recipe for Spiced Parsnip and Apple Soup. This soup is served hot. It doesn't look like a bisque and the apple is not caramelized. It is grated into the soup during the last few minutes of simmering. In addition to the parsnip and apple - coriander and cumin seeds, cardamom pods, ground turmeric and ginger, garlic, onions, chicken stock and few other ingredients are called for. I got the recipe from "The Smart Cook Collection: Soup" published by DK Books. It would be fun to play around with this recipe to include some pear (either caramelized or not). You could also replace some of the chicken stock with cream to make it more of a bisque. The preparation steps are pretty basic. If you'd like, I could post the ingredients and the directions (in my own words).
if you follow the gross outlines of similar soups it seems likely to be something such as this modification of the way we make squash soup.
--cook out 2 chopped leeks and 1 carrot in a little bit of oil/butter
--add chopped parsnips and lightly brown if they will (maybe 4-6 cups)
--maybe deglaze with pear spirits
--add 4 c chicken stock and simmer
--add carmelized pears, eg 3
--add 1/2-1 c cream
besides s/p, might add thyme to the vegetable base and a bit of nutmeg to the simmering soup. depending on the sweetness of the pears either a bit of lemon or sugar to the simmer, too.
i can vouch for the cousin squash soup, but, sorry, not this variation. perhaps a reasonable place to start if you don't get a tried/true recipe.
I second silverhawk's roadmap, and I'll bet the soup is all done in one pot - first brown chopped pears in butter, remove and set aside, add oil and the leeks/onion, carrot and proceed as above. Also take note that in general, parsnips are the mellowest and sweetest when spring-dug after overwintering in the cold ground. So good as your chef's creation is now, it might be even better next May.
Just last weekend I made a delicious carmelized pear soup that had sage in it (you need to put more than the recipe). I don't know why you couldn't throw some parsnips in the mix. I got it on the Food Network website & it is a Michael Chiarello recipe...just search for Pear Soup.
my favourite new soup of the year (and there have been several), from TASTE magazine:
Zuchhini, Pear and Ginger Soup
Serves 3 as a starter; 2 as big bowls
1 small onion, diced (I used half onion, half leek)
1.5cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 small, ripe pears, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
350g zucchini, trimmed and sliced into 3mm rounds
1 1/2C vegetable stock
shavings of gruyere or pecorino to serve
So simple, so good. Saute the onion until soft but not coloured in a pot with half butter, half olive oil. Add the ginger, zucchini and pears, and saute further, until zucchini is soft but still brightly green. Add the stock, and simmer for about 8 minutes, until the pear chunks are soft. Blend with stick blender, add cream, bring back to to boil and season with salt and pepper. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and the cheese shavings.
Try not to fall into the pot while this is cooking - smells sooo good! Also is a genuine 30-minute recipe, which is very convenient.