Dec 19, 2010

Apple Parsnip Soup with Cranberry Grape Wild Rice as a Side

Apple parsnip soup with cranberry grape wild rice as a side!

It’s cold and rainy here this morning and the one thing that sounds fantastic on a day like this is soup! We make soup at least once a week. You can make them hearty enough to be a one pot wonder or you can make them a little lighter, like this one, and make a complimenting side to go along. Bottom line though is that soup can be so easy and fast when you need a quick meal or a nice lunch with some friends.

This apple parsnip soup is surprisingly delicious! I say surprisingly, because like the pumpkin cookies I was also hesitant. (As you can see I’ve been expanding outside my comfort food box lately.) I was worried the soup would be too sweet or the flavors just wouldn’t add up but I was oh so wrong! The flavors were wonderful and despite the lightness of the fresh fruits and vegetables in the soup, the spices added transform the soup into a wonderful fallish/wintery mixture! It’s wonderful!

Here’s what you’ll need for both the soup and the wild rice:


Apple Parsnip Soup

(Adapted from Cooking Light. Makes enough for two full bowls and leftovers for lunch.)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cup chopped Pink Lady apple
  • 1/2 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 small or 1/2 large garlic clove
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped parsnip (about 2 small sized parsnips)
  • 2 1/2 – 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cranberry Grape Wild Rice

(Adapted from Ina Garten. Serves 4 small portions.)

  • 1/2 cup uncooked wild rice
  • 1 1/8 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup green seedless grapes, halved
  • 1/4 dried cranberries
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • zest from 1/2 orange
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed orange juice
  • Pepper to taste

It’s best to start with the wild rice. Wild rice takes longer to cook than regular so you definitely need to start it before your soup. Add the chicken broth to the pot, bring to a boil, pour in your rice and reduce the heat. Cover the pot and let the rice cook for 45-55 minutes. The time it takes for me to cook wild rice always varies between this time but I promise the added minutes are worth it for the great taste!

For the soup, heat the olive oil in a large pot and then add the onion. Cook the onion for about 5 minutes (until they are translucent) and then add the apples, curry powder, ginger powder, cardamom and garlic. With all these fragrant additions your kitchen should have just filled with amazing flavors! Let things cook for another minute while you constantly stir everything around. Last to the pot are the parsnips and the chicken broth. Bring things to a boil, cover the pot and reduce the heat to let things simmer for 30 minutes.

As your soup is finishing up, your wild rice should be just about done and you can put the side dish together. In  a large bowl combine the rice, scallions, halved green grapes, dried cranberries chopped pecans orange zest and orange juice. Give everything a good mix and add a little bit of pepper if you wish. This is a fragrant dish and the wild rice adds some heartiness to the meal.

Cranberry Grape Wild Rice Side Salad

With the wild rice salad ready to go, your soup is ready for one last step. In batches, pour the soup into a blender and blend until you are satisfied with the consistency. I preferred mine more on the blended side, but it’s honestly whatever you like best.

Apple parsnip soup blended and ready to eat!

Add your soup to a bowl, your wild rice salad to the plate with a side of delicious bakery bread and you have a wonderful meal for lunch or dinner!

While at the bookstore yesterday, Jor and I were looking at some cookbooks and I told him that to me there is nothing better than a meal made of all fresh flavors. I love the fresh vegetables and the fresh fruits and although a meal like this is all about simplicity, the flavors are far from simple! As strange as it might sound to some, since I was little, I always preferred eating a home cooked meal at home than going out, even to the fancy restaurants. As good as some of the food may be, I always come home feeling 10 pounds heavier and there is just something always missing for me. For me, a home cooked meal with fresh ingredients just can’t be beat! For now, that’s apple parsnip soup with cranberry grape wild rice….in the shell of a nut!

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