Last night I was trying to explain to a friend how much I enjoyed this one recipe from Stephanie Izard's new cookbook, Girl in the Kitchen. Turns out I was preaching the choir, as we had both apparently purchased the book, looked through the whole thing, and decided to try this exact same recipe. Usually I skip over blended soups, but that's mostly because I find they come off as bland and one-dimensional.
But in this case, my only worry was that there'd be too much going on here. Luckily, everything manages to balance out. The sweetness of the pears and parsnips is cut by the wine and pistachios. I'm especially impressed by the one red Thai chile, which doesn't clobber you over the head with spice, but does let itself be known. The recipe takes a little over an hour to prepare, but everything else about this soup is easy. You can use a blender to puree this, but an immersion blender works remarkably well.
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/3 cup diced yellow onion
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- 8 ounces parsnips, peeled and sliced
- 2 ripe Anjou pears, peeled and diced
- 3/4 cup roasted, salted pistachios
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup milk
- 1 dried red Thai chile
- salt and pepper
Add the butter to a medium-sized saucepan set over medium heat. When the butter melts, add the onion, and garlic. Cook until onions are translucent but not brown, three to five minutes.
Add the parsnips, pears, 1/2 cup of the pistachios, and the wine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the wine has almost evaporated, about eight minutes. Add the broth, milk, and red chile. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to maintain a simmer, and cook until the parsnips are very soft, 45 minutes to an hour.
Puree the soup either by carefully blending batches of it in a blender or by using an immersion blender. Taste the soup, and season to taste with salt and pepper. The pistachios will bring a lot of salt to the soup, so be careful. Divide soup between four bowls. Garnish with remaining pistachios.