Thursday, January 22, 2009

Roasted parsnip soup with bacon and caramelized leeks

I am so into the toasty-crouton-on-soup thing right now. It's the reason for soup, almost, to get crispy bread and buttery, melty goodness into my gaping maw. This soup is of typical creation myth: too lazy for a trip to the store, too much good shit going bad in the fridge (this time, leeks and a bag of baby parsnips) and cold weather. This one was delicious and even worthwhile in its own right. But it didn't come without snags. Does anything good ever?

I got this soup started on Tuesday. Tuesday was a gym day, and I always try to eat something somewhat conscientious on gym days, so "a roasted vedge soup it would be", I'd decided. We got home from the gym, and I rushed to the kitchen to peel an entire bag of baby parsnips (20 minutes), shallots (prolly only 5 minutes but I swear it feels like the lifetime of ten thousand kings) and a few cloves of garlic, and then washed and washed and washed the leeks after splitting them and chopping them into rough spears (another 15 minutes). It's going on 7:30, and I'm just now getting this shit into the oven for its requisite 45 minutes of roasting.

GAH. Finally, the roasting is done. The house smells amazing. The leeks are crispy like they've been in a campfire, all ashy and shit. Not good. I try to simmer the whole thing in chicken stock and a little bacon, but it occurs to me that I'll need to flesh this soup out a bit, but have nothing to add any body (not even motivation to go the store). It's 8:35, and I almost start to cry with the realization that it'll take another hour before this soup is really edible (let alone good).

I stick the soup, pot and all, into the fridge and we go to the trashy Italian-American restaurant around the corner for tortellini and pizza instead.

The next day, I pull the pot out. I'd gone to the store this time, for a little loaf of seeded baguette, a pint of cream and some more leeks. I pull out the bacon, and simmer the soup for an hour (it's only 6:00 this time!). Clean the one of the new leeks, slice into a near-chiffonade and slow-sauté with a pinch of salt over low heat until completely creamy and melted. Add a splash of cream to the soup (maybe a couple) and whiz it smooth with the immersion blender. Add the leeks and the chopped bacon, a splash of red wine vinegar, some salt and white pepper.

I sliced the baguette thick on the bias, and toasted both sides in the buttery leek pan, then floated them in the bowls of soup, topped with shredded Pecorino and Madrigal (and some French-fried onions for shits and gigs), then put the tray of bowls under the broiler for a minute or two.

Serve with a brambly Côtes du Rhône and smug criticism of Top Chef contestants.

25 comments:

Peter G said...

So it was a 3 day soup?...still turned out well though! delicious in fact. I love yur last line about Top chef contestants...LOL

Finspot said...

Love the soup but what really caught my eye was the napkin...

Elra said...

So, you have to match what you eat on gym day? ha ha ha.. (with splash of cream and bits of bacon)
Sounds delicious indeed.
Cheers,
Elra

peter said...

There's something about leeks in the winter... we had them tonight in/on risotto. And you're lucky you had to wait (as you well know.)

Abigail said...

Looks really gorgeous and yummers but what a PITA (pain in the ... - as hubby says) for you!

Foodycat said...

For all the trials and tribulations, it is a beautiful soup! And I totally agree about the crouton. The only thing that can match it as a garnish is the swirl of pesto in a minestroni.

Judy@nofearentertaining said...

Nice soup!!! Too bad it took 3 days to make LOL!

Lo said...

Ah... baby parsnips and buttered toast. Sounds like a winner to me.

Again, the word verification says it all: AzZESTio!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Sounds like you had a bit of a long road to a good soup, but judging from the photos, it was worth it in the end. Besides, there was bacon involved and bacon makes everything better!

I made a parsnip soup a few months ago that had a disappointing texture. I can relate.

Heather said...

Petah - Ah, it was only two days. It took me another to write about it.

Finny - Those napkins are my favorite. They have (had?) them Ikea, and are worth braving the crowds.

Elra - I figured the splash of cream and little bits of bacon only added about a hundred or so calories to the soup. Healthy!

Jube - I like them more in summer, grilled with lamb steak. But they are nice and wintry too.

Abigail - It wasn't that bad. I got to go eat crappy tortellini!

Foodycat - The swirl of pesto is the moneyshot. I bet that would be good on a crouton. :P

Judy - It was worth it (only two days).

Lo - I love it when the captcha spells something funny. :)

Rachel - Try roasting the parsnips. Really added another dimension of flavor and texture.

Bellini Valli said...

All good things come to those who wait...no exception here with the added bonus of crusty topping!!

Brooke said...

Some soups are just a vessel for the cheesey crouton. This one looks like a pretty damn good vessel. I can never say no to a good leek, regardless of the season.

By the way, I think your word verifications have a theme. This one is zesto.

Catherine Wilkinson said...

THAT's how I love to watch you cook! Pissed off and very hungry! Yea! It looks sooo good...I just want to jump in that soup...naked. I have a minted parsnips souffle...not nearly as appealling!

cook eat FRET said...

i hate peeling shallots
like with a passion

i tried roasting canned tomatoes once and took my eyes offa them and they became (mostly) a black mass on my baking sheet. some of them were tomato leather though. that was kinda interesting...

we are never full said...

tastespotting, girl. awww yeah. fridge meals are the best. i've totally done it before where i was overly ambitious (usually for me too on a gym night)and started a meal i just could be arsed to finish. this honestly looks so good. i'm totally craving soup now. and it's friday. i never, ever, ever crave soup on a friday night.

cookiecrumb said...

You can fix any soup by floating cheesy toast rafts on top.

duodishes said...

The bacon and that big 'ol 'crouton' covered with cheese look delectable!

glamah16 said...

I feel this post. I know that feeling of wanting something so good but needing the patience to cook it properly after a hard day of work. But isn't it always worth the wait? Love leeks. Im going to start carmelizing them.

Heather said...

Valli - I don't think it would've even been edible had I not waited. :)

Brookie - I'm not feeling that zesty, so I'm glad Blogger is bringing it for me.

Catherine - Wow! You know how to party. I wish I could curl up into that bowl myself, actually.

Claudia - Sticky is good on a tomato, in my opinion. I'd dissolve that into a soup, for sure.

Amy - You know it! Actually, I got dissed by foodgawker on this one, but whatevs.

Cookie - Amen, sister. No need for a separate sammich.

Duo - Giant croutons on soup are a thing, man.

Courtney - Leeks are definitely in this season. Giant, lovely leeks.

Marc @ NoRecipes said...

I love doing this to soups as well. I actually had some white bean soup for lunch today grilled under a broiler with some break-your-teeth hard battard and a layer of ham hock and leek bechamel from my croquettes.

Leigh said...

big fam of roasted veg soups. people just don't realise what flavour you can get from a root veg if roasted prior to blitzing. And how easy it it? No Brainer. Soup can be elevated above 'budget food' when done right. Glad to see you agree.

MrOrph said...

Something about leeks in soup that make everything alright ain't it?

And I love the addition of that much needed vegetable: BACON!

kyouell said...

I'm such a noob compared to you and the foodie commenters, but you inspired me. I had run errands Friday with 2 snotty (literally) kids and was too exhausted when I got home to make the pizza I had been planning. Also did not have the wherewithall to wait an hour with kneading and rising for it to even be ready for the oven. So I took an emergency can (gasp!) of Southwest veggie soup from the cupboard and added stock and chicken to it. That with warm homemade bread was actually good, filling, and there were leftovers for lunches. You are helping me along!

Brittany said...

I must know where you acquired the mushroom napkins.

Dazy said...

I'm making this tomorrow. I think I'll try to shoot it, but I don't think it will be as pretty as your picture!