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Roasted Parsnip and Apple Puree with Gruyère Toasts

Parsnips and apples are a great flavor pairing: the apples brighten the earthiness of the parsnips. Don’t skip the melted Gruyère toasts in this recipe, as dipping them into the soup is a delicious experience.

Ingredients:

  • 6 parsnips, peeled and chopped (about 4 cups)
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped, plus apple slices for garnish
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste

For the Gruyère toasts:

  • 4 oz. Gruyère cheese, shredded
  • 1 loaf crusty bread, cut into slices 1/4 inch thick

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a bowl, stir together the parsnips and olive oil, and season with salt and black pepper. Arrange in a single layer on the prepared pan and roast until the parsnips are beginning to caramelize, about 25 minutes.

In a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the nutmeg and cook for 1 minute. Add the apples, stir to coat and cook until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the broth and parsnips and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the parsnips are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender. Return the soup to the pot and season with salt and white pepper.

To make the Gruyère toasts, preheat a broiler to high. Put 2 Tbs. of the grated cheese on each bread slice. Arrange the slices on a baking sheet and broil until the cheese begins to melt, 2 to 3 minutes.

Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and garnish with apple slices. Place 1 or 2 Gruyère toasts on the side of each bowl and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Soup of the Day, by Kate McMillan (Weldon Owen, 2011).