From our food contributor, Diana Bauman. Rapunzel, It’s Hazelnut Soup! Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. Whenever I think of hazelnut soup, I’m reminded of one of my favorite Disney movies about a beautiful princess and her long silky hair. Along with a dreamy guy, a cast iron skillet, and parsnips… what’s not to love? Honestly, the first time I saw this movie I was more intrigued with the mention of hazelnut soup than the rest of the movie. Rapunzel’s fake mother brought home parsnips after a trip to town in order to make her hazelnut soup. I happen to love parsnips and hazelnuts so I knew this was a soup I had to recreate… animated or not. Parsnips are carrot-like root vegetables that contain vitamins, minerals and nutrients, most notably fiber, folate, potassium and vitamin C. They’re in season during the late fall and winter. They’re sweet, yet can have a bit of bite to them. Large parsnips can have a bitter center which is best removed before cooking. They taste great mixed into stews, soups, and any other way you would normally use a potato or other root vegetable. I tell you what, when I saw one of my favorite vendors at my farmers market selling freshly harvested parsnips in the fall, I stocked up and purchased about 15lbs of them to carry me through the winter. They keep wonderfully in the crisper and actually get sweeter over time. When I purchased them, I knew right away that I was going to be using some of them to make a comforting batch of hazelnut soup.
I usually make this rustic hazelnut soup once or twice during the winter season – thick and silky, just the way I like it. In order to create complexity, I start by sautéing onions in a cast iron dutch oven until they’re caramelized, deep and sweet. While the onions are caramelizing, I roast the hazelnuts to deepen their flavor. Once the onions are caramelized, I deglaze the pot by adding a bit of homemade beef broth. To the pot, I then add the parsnips, carrots, a potato, some of the roasted hazelnuts, seasonings, and a fair share of more broth. If you decide to use store bought organic broth, be aware that it won’t have as much depth and character as one made over a stovetop and simmered for 24 hours. If something like this intimidates you, I promise, you’ll be surprised at how simple it is to make and the nutrients inside will be unlike anything that can be purchased at a store. Once the additional broth has been added, the vegetables are covered and simmered until tender. Once tender, a bit of milk or cream is added to the soup and is then ready to be served with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkled with roasted hazelnuts. This soup serves beautifully with a green salad and a hunk of crusty bread (or not… if you’re gluten free).
- 2 large yellow onions, sliced
- 3 tbls butter
- 3 parsnips, roughly chopped
- 1 potato, roughly chopped
- 2 carrots, roughly chopped
- 1 cup hazelnuts, roasted, divided
- 4¼ cups beef broth, divided
- 1 tsp salt
- dash of fresh cracked pepper
- 1 tbls fresh thyme leaves
- 1 cup milk
- chopped hazlenuts to garnish
- sour cream to garnish
- In a large pot or dutch oven, over medium heat, melt the 3 tbls butter and add the onions. Stir the onions into the butter and allow to gently cook for 20-25 minutes or until the onions caramelize to a deep golden brown, stirring them along the way.
- Once Caramelized add ¼ cup beef broth to deglaze the pan.
- Once deglazed, mix in the parsnips, potato, carrots, ¾ cup hazelnuts, the rest of the broth, salt, pepper, and thyme leaves. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and then cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
- Once tender, with an immersion blender or working in batches using a blender, puree the contents of the pot. If using a blender, return the puree to the pot over medium heat.
- Add 1 cup milk and stir through. Simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
- Serve with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkled with roasted hazelnuts
Do you enjoy soups? Share with us, what’s your favorite comforting soup during this season?