Did you know that the USDA recognizes December as national pear month? This beautiful fruit is the ideal complement to a December holiday table. Pears add freshness and brightness to the caramelized earthiness of roasted parsnips, the sharpness of stilton, and the comforting herbal notes of sage, thyme, and bay leaves to create a soup that is cheerful and indulgent. The addition of white wine rounds out the flavour profile with acidity and sweetness ensuring each bowl is beautifully balanced.
By blending only half of the soup, the base becomes thick and rich while maintaining the textural interest of softened vegetables. We were once told to add a pinch of cardamom or nutmeg and we've found this addition elevates the decadence of this dish—especially if you're a cardamom fan. With or without cardamom, this soup is an impressive and unexpected addition to any meal.
Recipe by MiNDFOOD
Roasted Parsnip & Pear Soup. This rich and warming soup is the ultimate cool-weather comfort food.
750g small parsnips (about 5) 2 onions, thickly sliced 2 Beurre Bosc pears, peeled, cored and sliced in wedges 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves 2 tbsp olive oil 275g chilli speck or pancetta, chopped into 1cm pieces – leave out if making vegetarian version 1 leek, trimmed, halved lengthways and thinly sliced 2 stalks celery, chopped 2 cloves garlic, crushed 2 tbsp chopped sage leaves 1 cup white wine 2 litres chicken stock or vegetable is making vegetarian version 2 bay leaves 175g stilton, crumbled
Preheat oven to 180˚C. Peel the parsnips and slice lengthways in quarters. Combine parsnips, onion, pear, thyme and the olive oil in a large roasting pan.
Season and cover tightly with foil. Roast for 35 minutes. Remove foil. Cook for a further 35 minutes, or until golden, tossing once.
Set aside half the roasted parsnips for garnish.
Heat an oiled stock pot over a medium heat. Add speck. Cook, stirring, for 4 minutes or until golden.
Add the leek, celery, garlic and sage. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until tender. Add wine. Reduce by half.
Add the stock, bay leaves and roasted vegetables. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 minutes.
Blend half the soup until smooth, then return reserved soup to pot and reheat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve soup with the roasted parsnips and stilton.