Center-Stage Veggies

In a month in which many of us have spent far too much time shivering, it's time to fight back. Take Mom's advice and eat your veggies while catering to your craving for comfort food. It's time to make soup:

And this isn't just any soup. This one is packed with lots of great winter veggies. Everything from parsnips and broccoli to onions and celeriac are show-cased in this simple soup that takes advantage of your slow cooker to give you the flavor of a soup that's been simmering all day without requiring you to be in the kitchen all day. If you don't have celeriac, you can substitute diced celery, but the texture and flavor that celeriac bring to this dish are worth experiencing if you can.

You will want a blender to get a smooth, creamy texture for this bisque. My favorite tool for this kind of job is an immersion blender because it allows me to blend my bisque without having to try spooning hot soup out of one container and into another. Instead, I just blend it in place and clean the blending attachment for my immersion blender. Easy blending and easy cleanup. Pair that with a slow cooker that handles the heavy lifting for the meal and you are set!

With such a smooth, flavorful bowl of bisque, you don't need much to make this a meal. I like to sprinkle the top of my bowl with crumbled bacon and bleu cheese, but you could opt for other garnishes, crackers, or even fresh bread. It's a simple meal comprised of the ultimate in comfort food … and you'll be taking Mom's advice and eating your veggies, too!

Broccoli-Parsnip Bisque

  • 1 lb. parsnips, peeled & chopped
  • 1 lb. broccoli, chopped
  • 1 large onion, peeled & chopped
  • 1/2 c. chopped celeriac (or finely diced celery)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled & chopped
  • 1 qt. vegetable, chicken, or turkey broth
  • 1 T. salt
  • 2 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 c. half & half
  • Crumbled bacon & bleu cheese, for garnish (optional)

Combine all of the ingredients except the half & half in a large crockpot. Stir gently and cover. Set the slow cooker on LOW and allow to simmer for 7-9 hours.

After the vegetables are soft and fully cooked, blend the soup until no chunks remain. I use an immersion blender, but you could also transfer the soup, in batches, to a stand-alone blender. Once all of the soup is blended (and returned to the slow cooker, if you used a stand-alone blender), stir in the half & half and warm gently before serving.

If desired, garnish each bowl of soup with crumbled bacon and bleu cheese.

  • Yields: 6-8 servings
  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes, plus simmering time

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