Dinner Date: Woodchuck Hard Cider & Creamy Apple Parsnip Soup from El Dorado Hills
Creamy Apple Parsnip Soup
Soup for Syria: Recipes to Celebrate Our Shared Humanity
Recipes compiled by Barbara Abdeni Massaad. Featured recipe by local resident Carolyn Kumpe. (Interlink Publishing Group, 2015, $30)
- 2 tbsp. safflower, sunflower, or vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 3 medium leeks or 2 large sweet onions, trimmed and chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 tbsp. honey
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary, thyme, or sage
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 lb. parsnips, peeled and sliced
- 2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 2 sweet-tart apples, such as Granny Smith or Fuji, peeled, cored and cubed
- 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg, plus more to garnish
- 1/4 cup hard cider or apple juice
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Minced chives, chervil or scallions, bacon bits, sour cream or créme fraiche, grated nutmeg, or chopped parsley, to garnish (optional)
Heat the oil and butter in a large soup pot on medium-low heat until the butter is melted. Add the leeks or onions with a pinch of salt. Sauté on low until the leeks or onions are soft, about 8 minutes. Add the honey, bay leaf, and herb sprig. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Pour in the stock. Add the parsnips, potatoes and apples. Cover the pan, bring to a simmer, and simmer for 30 minutes or until the fruits and vegetables are tender. Remove and discard the bay leaf and herb sprig. Allow the soup to cool.
Purée the cooled soup with a stick blender, food processor or blender. Return to the saucepan. Stir in the vinegar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cider or juice. Cook on low heat for 15 minutes.
Remove from the heat. Stir in the cream and season with salt and pepper. Return the pot to low heat, warming it gently, but do not allow the soup to boil.
Ladle into soup bowls. Garnish as desired. Serves six.
Woodchuck Hard Cider’s Oak Aged Apple “Winter Chill”
Woodchuck Hard Cider, a branch of Vermont Hard Cider Company (producers of Magners Irish Cider, Hornsby’s Cider and others), introduced the U.S. to craft cider 24 years ago. The company currently handcrafts and manages all levels of quality control in their state-of-the-art cidery in Middlebury, Vermont, where they produce a variety of year-round, seasonal, small-batch, private reserve and “out on a limb” varieties (Chocolate Raspberry and Cheeky Cherry, to name a few). With a commitment to innovation, the environment and supporting the local community, it should come as no surprise that Woodchuck has won numerous awards.
Woodchuck Hard Cider’s Oak Aged Apple “Winter Chill” is homemade with apples from the company’s orchard partners in Vermont using a centuries-old technique, resulting in a cider that’s light, crisp and semi-dry with tremendous depth. Aged in premium French and traditional American oak gives it great complexity and broad characteristics that neither style could produce on its own. Starting with an attractive oak taste and finishing with a touch of vanilla, it’s medium-bodied, moderately carbonated and overall a nice, balanced cider that pairs effortlessly with holiday dishes, including this month’s Creamy Apple Parsnip Soup.
Events Manager, 36 Handles Pub & Eatery
Cover photography by Barbara Abdeni Massaad; recipe photo by local resident Debbie Cunningham. Cider photo courtesy of Vermont Hard Cider Company.