Hazelnut Parsnip Soup (Rapunzel’s Favorite)
Did you know that Hazelnut Soup is Rapunzel‘s favorite? According to Disney it is. And according to my girls, who practically have that movie memorized. I don’t mind the repetition, though. I quite like the sound of Zachary Levi’s voice in my living room. (Chuck fiend here.)
Girls also happen to be very fickle, and unfortunately the Rapunzel-watching phase is over (for now). Right now they’re obsessed with Pocahontas, which I’m totally cool with. (Mel Gibson‘s nice, too.)
After a quick Google search and discovering that such a soup does exist (and I didn’t have to make it up my self… whew), I informed the girls that Mom was going to make Rapunzel Soup. my oldest asked, “Mom, what’s a . . . pawsoup?” (Parsnip)
Making this soup was a good produce lesson for my kids, as I purchase a few things I don’t use on a regular basis. Like parsnips. And leeks, which are obnoxiously difficult to stash in a plastic produce bag.
It wasn’t until a year or two ago that I knew what parsnips, turnips, and rutabagas looked like. Out of curiosity I bought one of each at the grocery store.
That poor cashier. By the time I got to the front I was hazy on which was which, and because they don’t have produce stickers on them, we made our best guesses. Out of the three, I liked parsnips the best. They’re sweet like carrots, but starchy like potatoes and gave this soup a really nice texture.
So what does this soup taste like? It’s hard to explain. Parsnips, leeks, and shallots are milder, more sophisticated versions of carrots/potatoes, onions, and garlic (respectively) so you could compare this to a lighter, fancier potato soup. The hazelnuts (which are strained out after the soup is pureed), add a unique flavor. I think this would be a really nice soup course at a dinner party.
Or dinner for a family with pre-school aged, Rapunzel-obsessed girls. (Versatility!) I’m not sure if this is something that I’d make on a regular basis, though. It was easy to prepare in the beginning, but having to strain out the hazelnut bits was kind of tedious. And I had to mess up an extra bowl.
But, I think Rapunzel has really great taste in soup. My girls (3 and 4) thought so, too. They ate two bowls each for dinner and two more for lunch the next day. Score for mom.
Have you checked out my index lately? It’s starting to look more visual as I update old posts. I’ve still got a ways go to (almost half through!), but the soup category is especially pretty. Check it out!
Hazelnut Parsnip Soup (Rapunzel's Favorite)
Yield: 6-8 servings
1 1/2 cups whole hazelnuts
4 shallots, peeled and chopped
2 medium leeks (whites only), chopped
2 parsnips, peeled and chopped
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
5 Tbsp butter
1 T cornstarch (or 2 T all-purpose flour)
6 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2 cups water
2 cups half-and-half or heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Roast hazelnuts on a cookie sheet for 10-15 minutes or until toasted and fragrant. Once they're finished, dump them into a clean kitchen towel and "rough them up" to remove most of the skins. If they don't all come off, it's fine.
In a large, heavy pot, melt the butter and saute the chopped vegetables for 10-15 minutes, until softened. Stir in the cornstarch (or flour, if using), salt and pepper and stir to combine. Cook for a minute or so, then add water, chicken broth, and 1 cup of the roasted hazelnuts. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-loaw and simmer for 30 minutes.
Use an immersion blender to blend the soup into a smooth soup, then strain the soup through a sieve (see note).
Return the strained soup to the stove in a clean pot (or simply rinse out the other pot if the leftover bits bother you). Add the half-and-half (or cream, if using) and heat through. Taste and adjust the flavor with additional salt and pepper, if desired.
Chop the remaining 1/2 cup of roasted hazelnuts and use as garnish.
1. If you don't have an immersion blender, go get one.
2. If you can't get one, puree in batches using a blender, then strain into a large bowl. Straining takes a couple minutes of scraping the bottom of the sieve with a rubber spatula. Try to get as much liquid as you can out of the mush.