Maybe you remember Stephanie Izard from Top Chef. Maybe you’ve tried to get into her restaurant, The Girl and The Goat, in Chicago and have either been turned away or given a dinner reservation for 4:30 or 10:15. Or maybe not. If you don’t know of her, you should. Her passion for using all of an animal in her food (she even saves the fat from different types of protein and puts them in a bread she calls, fittingly, “Fat Bread”) would make a caveman proud.
Her restaurant is a lot of fun and I’d recommend it if you enjoy fatty food and if you can get in. But now you don’t need a reservation to enjoy her cooking. She has just come out with her first cookbook, and Daily Candy published her recipe for Parsnip, Pear and Pistachio Soup.
Pistachios? In soup? I was intrigued. I do like parsnips also; they are just something I never think about when it’s time for vegetables. I bought a few and made the soup last week.
It blew me away and it was so easy, too. Try it. Even my husband liked it, and he’s averse to most root vegetables, including carrots.
1 T butter (I used clarified butter)
1/3 c. chopped onion (about 1/2 of a medium onion)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
8 oz parsnips, peeled and sliced (about one healthy sized parsnip)
2 ripe Anjou pears, peeled and diced
3/4 c. shelled and salted pistachios
1/2 c. white wine
3 1/2 c. chicken broth or stock
1 c. milk (I didn’t have whole milk so I used half skim milk, half half-and-half)
1 dried red Thai chile (didn’t have this either, so I added a healthy blob of sambal olek)
In a stockpot, saute onion and garlic in butter over medium heat until soft and translucent but not browned. Add the parsnips, pears and 1/2 c. pistachios. Stir to mix and then add the wine. Simmer the mixture till most of the wine is reduced. (This took me about ten minutes, but I used a tall narrow stockpot. If you use a wider pan, it won’t take as long).
Add the broth, milk, and chile and bring to the boil. Lower the heat to simmer, cover the pot, and cook till the parsnips are very soft (about an hour). Either puree the soup with an immersion blender or let it cool slightly and use a blender. Chop the remaining 1/4 c. of pistachios and garnish the soup with it just before serving.