Bare with me a hot sec while I tell you a cute lil story about this Roasted Parsnip and Pear Soup, would you? (you can always click the button above and jump to the recipe)
My last trip to Ireland in September (I know, I know, twice in one year, how do I rate?) with five of my best girlfriends (four of us Sheila/Shelagh’s, not kidding!) found us in Dingle one day. We stopped at The Boatyard Restaurant for lunch. And what a lunch we had!
My friend Shelagh (yes, same spelling) ordered the Roasted Parsnip and Pear soup. She was oohing and ahhing, so we all had a taste. We ordered more, we were raving to the server, and she told the chef. Then, this cute young chef, Darren, greeted us and told us about the soup. I filmed him describing how to make it, but we were all in the background, again, oohing and ahhing, and so I don’t even want to show the video, lol. But it’s pretty hysterical (us with our midwestern accents in the background)! The sweet chef then went back to the kitchen and wrote down the recipe, and handed it to us. And lucky me, I got to come home with the copy. Happily taking on the task of translating into a manageable recipe.
This soup is so, so good, you must make it. I know it sounds a bit odd, but trust me, it’s a really special soup. Be sure to serve it with some Brown Bread, because every soup you get in Ireland is served that way.
The ingredients are easy to find
- Parsnips, be sure to peel them and slice in even sized pieces
- Leeks, all soups are better with leeks, just wash them well
- Pears, any pears will work, as long as they aren’t too ripe
Delicate yet hearty, this soup is a perfect first course for a nice meal.
- 1 lb. parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-2″ pieces (cut through the core into lengths similar to the skinny end of the snip), the goal is for the pieces to be the same size, so they roast evenly.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 head garlic, with about 1/2” cut from the top*
- 2–3 medium pears, peeled, cored, and cut in eighths
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 leek, trimmed, washed, and chopped
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 bay leaf
- 8 sprigs fresh thyme
- Splash of white wine (optional)
- 4 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock, or combo)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream (or half n half)
- Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
- Lemon zest, just a touch
- Parsnips, cut on mandoline and roasted
- Goat cheese
- Fresh thyme
- Preheat your oven to 400°. Scatter the parsnips onto a rimmed baking sheet . Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, and toss. Add the garlic bundle to the pan*. Roast on the middle rack of the oven for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, remove parsnips from the oven and toss. Add the pears and a little extra olive oil if the pan seems dry. Return the parsnips and pears to the oven and roast for another 15-20 minutes, or until parsnips are tender. Remove from oven, drizzle in the maple syrup, mix and set aside.
- If you are roasting the garlic in the same oven, leave it for another 15-20 minutes until it is golden, tender, and sweet. Remove from the foil and when cool enough to handle, squish the garlic out of its skin and into the soup pot.
- While the veg is roasting, melt the butter in a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add the leeks, onion, celery, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf. Sweat (meaning cook on medium heat without adding too much color), stirring often, for about 8-10 minutes or until tender. If the pan starts to dry, add a splash of wine (or stock) and stir. Add the chicken stock and the roasted parsnips and pears. Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer soap for 20-30 minutes to blend the flavors.
- Remove the bay leaf and the thyme sprigs (remember to get all 8!). Now add just a little lemon zest, no more than about 1/4-1/2 teaspoon. Pour in the cream while pureeing using a blender (or immersion blender). Blitz until smooth. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly cracked pepper.
- Serve soup garnished with fresh chives, goat cheese crumbles, or some fresh thyme.
*Roasted Whole Garlic: To roast the garlic, knick off the top 1/3 of the garlic to expose a little of the top. Place the entire head of garlic on a piece of tin foil. Drizzle with about 1 teaspoon of olive oil and a good pinch of kosher or sea salt. Crack on some black pepper and bundle the whole thing up. Place in a hot oven for 45-60 minutes, until golden, tender, and like butter.
**Timing will vary depending on the size of the parsnips. Keep an eye on them; you want the parsnips to get a bit golden but not burnt. Remove some thinner pieces early if they are golden enough before the larger pieces are tender. Remove from oven and set aside.
Okay, here’s the video, notice our Minnesota accents? Enjoy!
Entirely inspired by Chef Darren McNulty, chef at The Boatyard Restaurant in Dingle, Co Kerry Ireland. Thanks so much, chef. I hope I’ve done you proud.
Keywords: Roasted Parsnip and Pear Soup, Irish Soups, Soup and Brown Bread,