Creamy Parsnip and Ham Soup

Early March sees a battle for dominance happening between the seasons in Wisconsin. Sure, it's still technically winter, but spring has a tendency to be impatient and we'll see a warm day or two followed by the better part of a week spent battling snow, ice, and wind. For those moments, I bring you a week of soup. Warm, comforting soup that is easy to make and nourishing to enjoy. Whether you are digging into a big bowl with a few crackers or enjoying a cup alongside your favorite sandwich, they are just what we all need this time of the year.

This time around, a cream-infused roasted vegetable bisque gets the addition of diced ham to give it an extra dose of heartiness. You can, of course, omit the ham and use vegetable stock for a vegetarian version of this soup. I just find that I'm looking for a bit more these days. Maybe I'm just anticipating the gardening in my future! If you don't have parsnips, you could use potatoes or Jerusalem artichokes. I really love the velvety texture the roasted parsnips bring to the bowl.

Whether you are pairing a cup with a sandwich or a salad or topping a big bowl with cheese and kettle chips, this hearty soup will have you contemplating another bowl. And hey, like so very many soups, it makes excellent leftovers too, so feel free to make extra with that in mind.

Creamy Parsnip and Ham Soup

  • 2 lb. parsnips
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ¼ c. diced green onions
  • 3 c. chicken stock
  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • 2 c. diced ham
  • Grated cheese and kettle chips, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Peel and thickly slice parsnips and onion and place them on a large baking sheet. Add the garlic cloves (leaving them in their skin).

Drizzle the oil over the vegetables and season them well with salt and black pepper. Roast them in the oven for 20 minutes.

Squeeze the garlic cloves out of the skins (discard the skins). Add the roasted vegetables to a stock pot, adding the green onions.

Pour in the chicken stock. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes, then blend using an immersion blender. Add the heavy cream and blend again.

Add the ham; taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Heat until everything is hot and serve topped with some grated cheese and kettle chips.

  • Yields: 4-6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 40 minutes