Cream of Parsnip Sweet Potato Soup

This was the soup of the week after the Cantabile Band
rehearsal last Tuesday.

I talked to someone at a party in January who had also just
gotten a farm share for the first time, and she said the
associated purchase she had enjoyed most was an immersion blender,
so you can make blended soups right in the pot without other
dishwashing. So I was at the hardware store for something else
last week and I bought a Cuisinart
Smart Stick Hand Blender
. As was also true of my cuisinart
bread machine
, it came with a nice booklet of sample recipes, one
of which was for a parsnip-sweet potato purée. I still had
a bunch of small sweet potatoes from the farm share, so I decided
to modify it to make a soup.

I had about 5 small sweet potatoes, and a pound of parsnips.
I peeled them and cut them into small chunks and put them to simmer in my
2-quart cast iron pot with water to more than cover and salt and
pepper. I sauteed an onion, some garlic and some peeled and sliced
fresh ginger root, and added that. When the parsnips and sweet
potatoes were soft, I took the blender to the mixture and then
left it on the back burner, which has an especially low simmer.
Then after the rehearsal, I added some half-and-half. If you’re
cooking vegan or for the lactose-intolerant, I don’t think the
half-and-half is necessary; it was a pretty creamy soup before I
did that. But I’d bought it with the parsnips, so I decided to
use it.

One thing to note about soups: the recipes all minimize the
cooking time, and then say to use broth, which has previous
cooking time built into it. If you just simmer you soup for
several hours, the vegetables that are in it make the liquid into
broth. In the case of my after-rehearsal soups, the cooking is
usually done around 6 PM, and the eating is after 10 PM when
rehearsal ends, so there’s always several hours of simmering. So
I don’t bother making broth separately.

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