Parsnip & Apple Soup with Crispy Pancetta

 Creamy and slightly sweet, this Parsnip & Apple Soup with Crispy Pancetta is perfect for any meal of the day!

Creamy and slightly sweet, this Parsnip & Apple Soup with Crispy Pancetta is perfect for any meal of the day!

Tis the season for soup. If you haven’t heard me wax poetically about soup yet over on Instagram, I’m letting you know now about my love for this comforting food.

Why soup? Well, why not!?

Soup is comforting, nourishing and while it may disguise itself as something that needs hours to cook and prepare, it’s actually usually very simple. Case in point this Parsnip & Apple Soup with Crispy Pancetta only requires 10 basic ingredients (not including the the basic salt, pepper, oil) and is ready in under an hour!

Another reason to celebrate soup is the fact that it is so versatile. Pair this soup with some good bread and a simple green salad and dinner is served. If you prefer, serve a smaller portion with a sandwich for a filling lunch. And heck, I even enjoy soup for breakfast and this one fits the bill with the crispy pancetta standing in for more traditional morning bacon.

This soup also celebrates the best of seasonal produce with its abundance of parsnips and apples, which happen to be a natural flavor pairing. Parsnips are loaded with fiber, potassium and Vitamin C making them the perfect vegetable to enjoy as we enter peak cold & flu season. Plus, their naturally sweet yet nutty flavor goes perfectly with the crisp, refreshing flavors of apple. Instead of introducing dairy or cream to make this soup creamy, the parsnips and apples are simply blended to create a silky smooth soup.

A few other notes:

  • Substitutions: If you want to try experimenting with other apples in this dish, I recommend other apples that break down well once heated and have a sweet yet crisp taste. Varieties to look for include Fuji, Honeycrisp and Braeburn.

  • Make it Your Own: Not a fan of pancetta or prefer to keep this dish vegan? Try tossing toasted nuts (like walnuts) with chives for a totally different topping. The nuts will give you the crunch you are looking for in the garnish.

Parsnip & Apple Soup with Crispy Pancetta

Serves: 4-6

Time: 45 Minutes

Ingredients:

For the Soup

1 medium onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

2 lbs. parsnips, peeled and chopped into 1” pieces (about 3 cups)

1 large Gala apple, peeled, cored and chopped into 1” pieces (about 2 cups)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

4 cups vegetable stock or water

1 bay leaf

Sea salt to taste

Ground black pepper (or white pepper) to taste

For the Crispy Pancetta & Chives

4 oz. pancetta, cubed

1/4 cup thinly sliced chives

Instructions:

1. Prepare the crispy pancetta by heating a small skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook for 5-8 minutes or until crispy, stirring occasionally. Remove and drain on a paper towel.

2. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes until they are translucent and softened. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute.

3. Add the parsnips, apple, cinnamon and ginger. Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour the stock or water into the pot, scrapping the bottom with a wooden spoon. Add the bay leaf.

4. Bring to a low boil before reducing the heat to low and letting simmer for 30 minutes or until the parsnips are fork tender. Using either an immersion blender or by transferring to a blender (let it cool slightly), blend until smooth and creamy. Return to the large pot and season the soup to taste with salt & pepper.

5. In a small bowl, toss together the cooked parsnips and chives. Ladle the soup into your bowls and garnish with the chive and pancetta mixture before serving.