This Roasted Parsnip and Pear Soup should be on your holiday menu! For real though, parsnips are the low key MVP! They’re sweet like carrots but with way more starch and an earthy, nutty taste.
I first made this recipe for Canadian Thanksgiving, when I was looking for a new way to serve up my favorite root vegetable. After staring at my apples and pears for an admittedly long time, trying to choose which to incorporate, I reached for a beautiful Bosc pear.
Why Bosc? Does it matter if I use another variety? The long and short answer is both yes and no. I’m always on team ‘use what you have’, but I prefer Bosc pears for cooking because their flesh is dense and retains its shape much better when cooking.
Roasted Parsnip and Pear Soup
- 1 large baking sheet
- parchment paper
- 1 large Dutch oven
- 1 immersion blender or standing blender
- 1 soup ladle
- 2 lb parsnips peeled, core removed and cubed
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil divided
- 2 tbsp honey divided
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper divided
- 1 onion diced
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- ½ tsp freshly ground cardamom
- 2 Bosc pears peeled, core removed, diced, and divided
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 6 cup vegetable or chicken stock
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 4 tsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp salted butter ideally cultured butter because it has a higher smoke point
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 450° degrees and set a rack to the middle position. Line a baking sheet for easy clean up.
- In a large bowl, toss parsnips with 1 tbsp of olive oil and honey. Add ½ tsp of cayenne and a sprinkle of salt; toss to coat once more. Transfer to a baking dish and bake for 25 minutes. Flip the parsnips at the 15 minute mark and continue cooking until they're fork-tender and golden brown.
- While the parsnips are roasting, it's a good time to dice the onion and pear, as well as line up the rest of the ingredients for easy use.
- In a heavy bottomed pot, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add diced onions, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, and begin to sweat the onions, about 2 minutes. Add bay leaves, grated nutmeg, ground cardamom, and ½ tsp of cayenne. Continue to sweat the onions, about 3-4 minutes.
- Stir in roasted parsnips, sprinkle with salt, cook until parsnips start to stick to the bottom of the pot, about 5 minutes. Add 1 diced pear.
- Add wine to the pot, turn heat to high, and cook until is nearly evaporated, about 2 minutes. Stir in stock, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 10-15 minutes; discard bay leaves.
- Stir in cream, purée soup with handheld immersion blender or traditional blender. Stir in white wine vinegar, 1 tbsp honey; season with salt.
- Melt butter in a small frying pan over medium heat. When it starts to foam, sprinkle in brown sugar and a pinch of ground cardamom, cook until bubbling and sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes.
- Add remaining diced pear and cook, stirring rarely, until mixture is caramelized and pears begin to release their juices.
- Ladle soup into bowls and top with caramelized pear. Garnish with a few thyme leaves (optional).