The earthy flavor of parsnips goes especially well with fragrant pears, but carrots or even rutabaga work nicely in this soup as well. Serve it as a first course or as a light main dish with a crusty whole-grain bread.
2 pounds parsnips, peeled and with woody core removed (see Tip)
2 pears, peeled and cut into eighths
1 small yellow or white onion, peeled and cut into eighths
1 tablespoon light vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup balsamic vinegar
2 1/4 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
2 1/4 cups low-fat milk
1. Position rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 450 F.
2. Toss parsnips, pears, onion, oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper in a roasting pan. Roast, stirring every 10 minutes, until very soft and starting to brown, about 40 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, boil vinegar in a small saucepan until syrupy and reduced to about 1/4 cup, 10 to 14 minutes. (Watch the syrup carefully during the last few minutes of reducing to prevent burning.) Remove from the heat.
4. Puree half of the parsnip mixture with broth in a blender until very smooth; transfer to a large saucepan. Puree the other half with milk until very smooth. Add to the saucepan and stir in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt.
5. Reheat the soup over medium heat, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Gently reheat the balsamic syrup if it has become thicker than syrup while standing. Ladle the soup into bowls and drizzle with the balsamic syrup.
Tip: Remove the fibrous, woody core of parsnips before using–quarter parsnip lengthwise and cut out the core with a paring knife.
Makes 6 servings, generous 1 cup each.
Nutrition per serving: 250 calories; 4 g fat (1 g saturated fat, 2g mono unsaturated fat); 8 mg cholesterol; 49 g carbohydrates; 7 g protein; 9 g fiber; 515 mg sodium; 687 mg potassium.
Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (50% daily value), Folate (27% dv), Calcium & Potassium (19% dv).
Exchanges: 2 starch, 1/2 fruit, 1/2 low-fat milk, 1/2 fat.
Carbohydrate servings: 2 1/2.
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