Throughout Tender, readers will find inspiration for using the freshest ingredients they can find. Some recipes are just simply written as the photo captions. Alongside a two-page spread showing spaghetti squash, it says, "Cook it whole, without splitting it. Just place it on a sheet pan and pop into a 350 degree F oven. When it is soft to the prick of a fork, it's ready to go. Split the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and use a fork to gently scrap out the flesh. It will come in long strands--you guessed it--just like spaghetti. Add a little butter and salt and pepper." Other recipes introduce less commonly used ingredients like smoked paprika and Jerusalem artichokes. And, in addition to recipes, the book includes tips for flavor boosters and garnishes, like anchovy breadcrumbs, that will elevate the flavor of any dish.
This recipe for parsnip soup is rich and flavorful given its humble ingredient list. Sure, there's some cream in there, but not much. Despite the recommendation of letting the soup cool before pureeing it in a blender, I threw caution to the wind and hit it with an immersion blender while it was still hot.
Tamara Murphy will be selling and signing copies of Tender this weekend, Feb. 26 and 27, at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show. Look for her at the University Bookstore booth both days from 1-2pm.
Serves 6 to 8
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 onion, diced
1 leek, washed and diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds parsnips, peeled and sliced into ¼- to ½-inch rounds
1 quart of vegetable broth, approximately
½ cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a soup pot over low heat. Add the onion, leek, and garlic and cook until soft and caramelized. Add the parsnips.
Add a cup of broth and continue to cook for about 15 minutes. Then add enough of the remaining broth to cover the vegetables by about 2 inches and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, or until the parsnips are very soft. Remove from the heat and let cool.
Transfer the mixture to a blender and puree. Pour back into the pot and add the cream. Bring the soup to a simmer, then whisk in the remaining tablespoon of butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Every soup such as this can also be eaten chunky and not pureed. If you plan to serve it that way, you might want to be a little more aware of how you cut your veggies so that they are attractive.
Note: The rule of thumb for most pureed soups is that there should be at least 2 inches of liquid above the vegetables after they cook down.
From Tender, Copyright © 2010 Marlen Boivin, Jody Ericson Dorow, Nancy Gellos, Tamara Murphy.