Irish Parsnip and Apple Soup

In my mind I see a woman, head slightly bent against the wind and hefting long skirts. There is still a blustery nip in the air. Fields lie fallow, awaiting spring. She walks purposefully across the yard, her thatched-roof cottage behind her, cozy smoke rising from its stone chimney. She lifts a heavy door, and carefully treads down to the cool, dark root cellar. In the scant light, she can see that winter stores are nearing their end. “What to make for dinner?” she silently frets, when she recalls the few sweet parsnips and some tart, late-harvest apples she had tucked away before the first frost. “Well, then. It’ll be Parsnip and Apple Soup!”

Irish Parsnip and Apple Soup

A delightful surprise can be tasted in every bite of this lightly sweet and fragrant cream soup. Parsnips, somewhat reminiscent in flavor and texture of other vegetables (celery, carrots, turnips, potatoes), look like fat white carrots and have a unique sweet and nutty taste all their own. A mellow sweet-savory marriage with apples brings a lightness and dimension, with depths of flavors as elusive as my imagination…

Irish Parsnip and Apple Soup

Irish Parsnip and Apple Soup

2 pounds parsnips
1 pound (2 medium) tart cooking apples
4 tablespoons butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
⅓ cup flour
1 package (32 oz.) vegetable broth
¼ cup Irish whiskey (optional)
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon white pepper
2 fresh sage leaves
1 cup heavy cream

Irish Parsnip and Apple Soup

Pare and trim parsnips. Chop coarsely and set aside. Pare, core and coarsely chop apples. Add to parsnips.

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot and sauté until soft but not browned, about 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add minced garlic and stir for another minute.

Stir in flour until thick paste forms. Gradually add broth, stirring into flour mixture until smooth. Add whiskey, parsnips, apples, salt, pepper, and fresh sage leaves. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 25 to 30 minutes.

Stir in heavy cream. Lightly purée using an immersion blender, traditional blender or food processor. Reheat if necessary. Serve warm, garnished with additional fresh sage, if you like.

Irish Parsnip and Apple Soup

Irish Parsnip and Apple Soup

Makes approximately 6 1-cup servings.

Irish Parsnip and Apple Soup

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Categories: Soups, Vegetarian


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21 Comments on “Irish Parsnip and Apple Soup”

  1. March 22, 2013 at 1:26 pm #

    That looks fantastic! And is that your garlic press? I’ve never seen anything like that!

    • March 22, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

      Thanks! Yes, that’s a garlic roller made by joseph joseph. A thoughtful and practical gift from my sister-in-law Suzanne. She knows me too well!

      • March 22, 2013 at 2:15 pm #

        That is awesome! It looks super easy to clean too. Googling now . . .

      • March 22, 2013 at 2:18 pm #

        Yes, it is. I think you can get them at the MoMA store. You will love it!

      • March 23, 2013 at 11:58 am #

        I’m a MoMa member! That garlic press is mine! Thanks for being an enabler 🙂

      • March 23, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

        Ha, ha! We gotta go to Cooking Gadgets Anonymous.

  2. March 22, 2013 at 6:18 pm #

    Looks very delicious and healthy, too. Nice photo’s …

  3. March 22, 2013 at 9:19 pm #

    Lovely soup and wonderful pouring shots. I don’t do them by myself because they are too much trouble to do by yourself. Baby Lady takes all of the pouring shots. 🙂

    • March 22, 2013 at 9:46 pm #

      Thanks, Richard. You are very lucky to have the assistance of Baby Lady!

      • March 22, 2013 at 10:01 pm #

        You are 100% correct and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t realize I am the luckiest man in the world.

      • March 22, 2013 at 10:07 pm #

        That’s wonderful! 🙂

  4. March 25, 2013 at 2:02 pm #

    Not a combination I would have thought of, but must try. Seems like it might be quite a light soup, good for a meal with several courses.

    • March 25, 2013 at 10:33 pm #

      When you come for a visit Jings, I’ll make you some. 🙂

  5. August 25, 2013 at 7:24 am #

    I love parsnips…I will have to try this…

    • August 25, 2013 at 10:15 am #

      Thanks, Sue. It’s a nice autumn dish. Another way I like to eat parsnips is cooked and mashed, mixed about 50/50 with mashed potatoes.

      • August 25, 2013 at 7:20 pm #

        Sounds like a plan…:-)

      • August 25, 2013 at 7:24 pm #


  6. January 10, 2014 at 6:14 pm #

    I love parsnips! I can’t wait to try this soup. And I’m checking out that garlic press as well. Awesome. 🙂

    • January 10, 2014 at 7:44 pm #

      I love parsnips too! One of my favorite ways to eat parsnips is to mash them and mix them 50/50 with mashed potatoes. You will love that little garlic press. 🙂


  1. Weekly Photo Challenge: Future Tense | - March 22, 2013

    […] Check back later for the recipe: Irish Parsnip and Apple Soup […]

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