It's been a while since I've posted, and I'd like to blame that on being super busy with work, but the truth is I think I've hit kind of a creative slump. I'll begin to write a post, then either be at a loss for words, or finish the post and not be satisfied enough with the final product to hit "post".
Hopefully I can get back into the swing of things soon. In the meantime, here is a recipe for my new favorite soup. I realized the other day that I like parsnips. It really was a dramatic moment of realization- cartoon light bulb over my head and everything. Parsnips are a vegetable that I hadn't really thought about much- just enough to assume that I wouldn't like them. But I was wrong. Who knew?
This isn't a very exact recipe- more like a guideline for soup-making. It can be altered in any number of ways without seriously harming the soup.
Heat a large pot on medium-low heat. Cut 2 slices of bacon into 1/2-inch pieces (optional). Fry bacon until crisp (but not burnt...oops). Reduce heat to low. Add 1 medium onion, finely chopped, to pan and saute until translucent, about 7 minutes (if not using bacon, add a few tablespoons oil before adding onions). Add 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped. Cook for 30 seconds more. Add 2 large parsnips, 2 large carrots, and 1 large potato (or 6-8 small ones), all coarsely chopped. Cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes (add a little oil if needed).
Add enough chicken or vegetable broth to cover veggies, about 2-3 cups. Add about 1/2 tsp dried thyme, and 1/2 tsp dried tarragon, more or less. Bring soup to a boil, then turn down heat and let simmer, partially covered, for 30-35 minutes, or until vegetables are cooked through.
Remove from heat. Puree soup with immersion blender, or in batches in a regular blender. Add milk or cream until soup is desired consistency (1/2 to 1 cup...). Stir in some shredded cheddar cheese, if you want (highly recommended). Taste soup, then add salt and pepper to taste.
Makes 4 servings.