The earthy flavor of parsnips goes especially well with fragrant pears, but carrots or even rutabaga work nicely in this soup as well. Serve it as a first course or as a light main dish with a crusty whole-grain bread.
2 pounds Parsnips, peeled and woody core removed (see Tip)2 Pears, peeled and cut into eighths1 small yellow or white Onion, peeled and cut into eighths1 tablespoon Canola oil1 teaspoon Salt, divided1/4 teaspoon freshly ground Pepper1 cup Balsamic vinegar2 1/4 cups reduced-sodium Chicken broth, or vegetable broth2 1/4 cups low-fat Milk
Position rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 450°F.Toss parsnips, pears, onion, oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper in a roasting pan. Roast, stirring every 10 minutes, until very soft and starting to brown, about 40 minutes.Meanwhile, boil vinegar in a small saucepan until syrupy and reduced to about 1/4 cup, 10 to 14 minutes. (Watch the syrup carefully during the last few minutes of reducing to prevent burning.) Remove from the heat.Puree half of the parsnip mixture with broth in a blender until very smooth; transfer to a large saucepan. Puree the other half with milk until very smooth. Add to the saucepan and stir in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Reheat the soup over medium heat, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Gently reheat the balsamic syrup if it has become thicker than syrup while standing. Ladle the soup into bowls and drizzle with the balsamic syrup.
Tip: Remove the fibrous, woody core of parsnips before using: quarter parsnip lengthwise and cut out the core with a paring knife.Roast the parsnips, pears and onions, then puree half the mixture ahead of time for a faster week-night preparation.If serving for halloween, drizzle balsamic syrup in circles, pull an knife from the center of the circles outward in four directions, then add an "X" over circles to approximate a spider's web.
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