Broccoli and Parsnip Soup
- 1 pound of broccoli
- 6 cups water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
- 3 fresh parsley sprigs
- 3 fresh thyme sprigs or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
- 1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
- 1/2 pound parsnips, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
- 1 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, or to taste
Cut off and discard tough lower third of broccoli stems, then peel remaining stem and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Cut remaining broccoli into 2-inch-wide florets.
Bring water to a boil in a 4-quart heavy pot, then add broccoli and 1 teaspoon salt and boil, uncovered, until broccoli is just tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking, reserving cooking water in pot, then drain broccoli.
Wrap parsley, thyme, and bay leaf in a small square of cheesecloth and tie into a bundle to make a bouquet garni. Add to reserved cooking water along with parsnips, onion, and chicken broth and simmer, covered, until parsnips are very tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
Discard bouquet garni and reserve 1 cup cooking liquid, then purée remaining soup with broccoli, in batches if necessary, in a blender until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids). Transfer puréed soup to another pot and thin to desired consistency with reserved cooking liquid. Stir in pepper, nutmeg, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste) and bring to a simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally.
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