The Sometimes Ignored Parsnip

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I don’t know what it is about parsnips.  I have had strangers ask me at the produce section if I know how to cook it – or they ask, what is this, exactly?  I personally love parsnips roasted, as it brings out their wonderful sweetness.  An exception would be this soup.  It’s creamy, elegant, and totally satisfying.   A perfect cold weather meal.
Cream of Parsnip Soup
1-1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 small leek, white part only, cleaned and chopped
1 small green chili pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon minced pared fresh ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 pound parsnips, peeled and chopped
1 medium russet potato, peeled and chopped
5-1/2 cups hot water
1-1/2 cups chicken stock or broth
1/3 cup plain yogurt
Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
1 Tablespoon chopped shelled natural pistachios
1.  Melt butter in large saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add onion, leek, chili pepper, sugar, ginger, turmeric, and nutmeg.  Cook, stirring constantly, until onion is limp, about 5 minutes.  Add parsnips and potato; cook 5 minutes. Add water and stock; heat to boiling; reduce heat.  Simmer gently until parsnips are tender, about 20 minutes; cool slightly.  Puree soup, a third at a time, in blender or food processor; press through a fine-mesh sieve, then return to pan.
2.  Stir in yogurt; season to taste with salt and pepper.  Heat just until hot.  Sprinkle each serving with chopped pistachios right before serving.  Serves 6-8.

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