Monday, March 28, 2011

Challenges of Cooking in Another's Kitchen: Parsnip Soup Shake

Here's my new go to recipe when I find myself in the following scenario: You're an invited guest at a wonderful home and asked to prepare a dish as part of an elaborate, festive meal. My simple rules in these cases:

  1. Keep it simple: You're using unfamiliar equipment with a history of quirks that only the owner knows about. Don't rely on it other than to warm things up or boil water - go beyond this with an abundance of caution. A recipe with less than 7 easy ingredients will also keep you safe and things simple.
  2. Be a supportive character: Don't upstage the main dish (too much :) This means be healthy. Avoid richness or heaviness that will detract from a main dish or bring unwanted attention to yours.
  3. Be gracious, give credit to the chef/host, and clean up.
My previous go to recipe is still a great one and follows the rules above:
Green beans in a Shallot, Dijon vinaigrette. Trim the ends, steam them in a double boiler, and then (most important) immediately dress the vegetable with the vinaigrette (oil, vinegar, lemon juice). Season with salt and pepper.
I've upgraded my dish because it's so easy to make and such a crowd pleaser. So much for not upstaging the main dish! The soup is served in any glassware that you'd serve a milkshake in. A highball cocktail glass will also work. The sweetness of this soup comes from the natural sweetness the parsnips bring when roasted as well as from the caramelized onions. The tiny white chocolate drizzle is tiny - 1 tablespoon on top.

Depending on what's in season, I will switch between the two.

Parsnip Shake Soup with White Chocolate Drizzle & Cocoa shavings

Ingredients: Serves 4
  1. 2 yellow onions, diced
  2. 2 lbs parsnips, peeled and cut to 1/2 inch dice
  3. 2 cups vegetable broth
  4. 1 cup Greek plain low fat yogurt

  5. 1/4 cup white chocolate chips
  6. 1/4 cup milk or almond soy milk
  7. pinch of cinnamon
  8. dark chocolate shavings
Start with the onions. Put them in a saucepan with a little canola oil, salt and heat on medium high until fragrant and slightly translucent. Then cover and lower to a very low setting for 90 minutes - 2 hours. Check every so often too make sure they are not burnt or doing anything but releasing their juices.

Roast the parnsips. Line a cookie sheet with foil and a bit of cooking oil at 400 degrees F for 45 minutes or until they just start getting brown on the edges.

Combine all non-drizzle ingredients. Add the onions, roasted parsnips, vegetable stock to a pot and bring to boil then lower heat to medium-low and add yogurt. Use a handheld soup blender to reach a smooth texture. If the soup is too thick, add some stock. Ideally let the flavors combine and rest in the refrigerator overnight.

Drizzle. Carefully bring milk or almond soy to a near boil and add white chocolate chips. Stir constantly until chocolate is melted. Add pinch of cinnamon. Let cool but not settle.

To serve: warm the parsnip soup, fill a glass, add 1 tablespoon of drizzle on top, and sprinkle with chocolate shavings.

I've served this at the end of a meal, but I think its best at the beginning. I give all the credit for this creation to Executive Chef Drew VanLeuvan at ONE Midtown Kitchen in Atlanta, GA who served a version of this to me and my wife. I was blown away and determined to recreate its genius and creativity. Good luck!

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