Creamy Root Vegetable Soup
Why this recipe works:
All too often, creamy vegetable soups are more about the cream than the vegetables. We wanted a soup that would be just as smooth as cream-laden ones but have vegetable flavor that shined. We added an assortment of vegetables to the pot one by one, settling upon a mixture of potatoes, carrots,… read more
All too often, creamy vegetable soups are more about the cream than the vegetables. We wanted a soup that would be just as smooth as cream-laden ones but have vegetable flavor that shined. We added an assortment of vegetables to the pot one by one, settling upon a mixture of potatoes, carrots, parsnips, leeks, and celery. But even with that long lineup of veggies, the flavor wasn’t as assertive as we’d hoped. We gradually cut the cream back from 1 cup to ½ cup, but now the cream lacked body. We considered other thickeners like flour or cornstarch until inspiration finally hit. The potato was certainly packed with starch; could it solve our problem? Sure enough, sautéing the potatoes on their own pulled out their starch and provided the small amount of thickening we needed.less
Serves 4 to 6
You’ll need 2 medium parsnips here.
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 6 ounces parsnips, peeled and chopped
- 1 leek, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced thin, and washed thoroughly
- 1 celery rib, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
- Salt and pepper
- 12 ounces russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 4 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
1. Melt butter in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add carrots, parsnips, leek, celery, garlic, and ½ teaspoon salt and cook until browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in potatoes and cook, stirring constantly, until starch begins to release and vegetables begin to stick together, about 2 minutes. Add broth and bay leaf and bring to boil.
2. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Working in batches, process soup in blender until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Return soup to clean pot and stir in cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve. (Soup can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.)
Less Cream, Creamier Texture
In order to actually taste the root vegetables, we cut back on the rich cream. But we didn't want to lose the smooth, silky texture cream creates. The solution? We coaxed starch out of the potatoes by stirring them constantly as they sauteed. Their natural starch plus a moderate amount of cream gave us a thick, rich, full-flavored soup.