Parnip Leek Soup

I have to say, I’m tempted to add even more cheese here than just 1/4 cup. It all depends on how much of that umami taste you like. If you feel like you need more of that background flavor, try adding 1/3 cup of cheese. And if you want to make the soup completely vegan, just omit the cheese, but know that the flavors will change and the soup will be much sweeter.

5 tablespoons olive oil
3 leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
1 fat garlic clove, minced
1 pound parsnips, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
Extra-virgin olive oil, for serving
Chopped parsley, for serving

1. In a large stockpot, or Dutch oven set over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil and cook the leeks for 5 to 8 minutes, until soft and translucent. Don’t let the leeks brown. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
2. Add the remaining olive oil and parsnips, stir for 1 minute. Add with 4 cups of water, stir in salt and pepper, and bring the soup to a simmer. Cover the pot, reduce heat to the lowest setting, and simmer for 30 minutes, until the parsnips are fork-tender. Stir in Parmigiano-Reggiano, lemon juice, and zest. Taste and adjust seasonings. Using your immersion blender or after ladling the soup (maybe in two batches) into a regular blender, puree the soup until smooth. Ladle into bowls. Serve with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and some chopped parsley.

Serves 6.

© 2023 Olga Massov