My daughter loves to cook. In Fall/Winter she often makes up a huge pot of soup and freezes most of it to thaw and serve on especially cold evenings. Nothing like soup when we come home from work exhausted, yes? This is a soup she found for Christmas 2009 as a first course. We all nearly died of happiness, happily groaning as we drank every delicious drop. Note: Don't kick yourself too much if you don't make chicken stock--just buy some and make the soup anyway. If you wait until you have some home-made stock you may never make it!
Cream of Parsnip Soup with Bacon and Potato Crisps (from the Food Network circa 2006)
2C chopped onions
1C chopped celery
1 bay leaf
1 t. chopped garlic
10 cups chicken stock
3 lbs parsnips, peeled and diced
1/4 to 1/2 C. heavy cream
6 oz. raw bacon, chopped or 6 t Hormel Real Bacon Bits
Note: This will serve about 10-12 people! Cut recipe in half if you wish!
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt the butter in 6-qt. stock pot over med.-high heat. add the onions and celery. Season with salt and pepper. Saute until vegies are soft, about 4 minutes. Add bay leaf and garlic. Add stock and parsnips and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, until the parsnips are very soft--about 1 hour. Remove from heat and allow to cool a little. Discard bay leaf. Using a hand-held blender, carefully puree soup until smooth ( a regular blender on low speed will do) Stir in cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
In small saute pan, fry bacon till crispy. Remove and drain on paper towels. Optional: Fry thin potato slices in leftover bacon fat till crispy and brown. Drain on paper towels and salt. Use either or both bacon and potato crisps as a garnish. Another option: use a sprinkle of Hormel Real Bacon Bits.