When we found that we got parsnips in our organic vegetable and fruit box, we immediately knew what to make of them: cream of parsnip soup. The original recipe comes from Arla, a Swedish dairy producer (although I think they're actually Danish now) who gives out little recipe folders for free in grocery stores. This soup is a find from one of those.
The soup works really well as a starter as well as a light lunch or dinner, and it tastes much more refined than you would think when you hear that the main ingredient is parsnips. The pears add a nice sweet fruitiness and the walnuts a nice crunch. We've made some changes to the recipe, like using vermouth and vinegar instead of white wine, and having the walnuts and pears raw rather than roasted as the original says.
Cream of parsnip soup with walnuts and pear
400 grams parsnips
½ tbsp butter
5 dl water
1½ tbsp concentrated vegetable stock
1 dl dry vermouth
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
2½ dl light cream (15 % fat)
50 grams walnuts
2 tbsp finely chopped chives
Peel and dice the parsnips and onion. There's no need for very nice dicing since it's all going to be mixed later. Do make the dice quite small though, it will make them soft quicker. Fry the diced parsnips and onion in the butter. Dissolve the vegetable stock in the water and add that together with the vermouth and vinegar. Let cook slowly until the parsnips are soft, it takes about 10-15 minutes. (You can prepare the soup this far.) Mix the soup completely smooth with a blender. Add the cream and reheat. Add freshly ground white pepper to taste. Chop the walnuts and dice the pear. Mix with the chives. Serve the soup with the walnut-pear "chop" sprinkled on top.