There is a vegetable (or root vegetable) in Venezuela called apio. It looks like a potato, but with the form of a twisted root. I have not been able to find it anywhere. I lived in Miami for more than 10 years and it never occurred to me that they would have it in Sedano’s – a supermarket that carries a lot of latin american items in Florida – until one of my friends mentioned it to me (duh!). Luckily there is Parsnip.
I have found that parsnip is the most similar in taste so far. When I make parsnip soup simply with onions, sweet peppers and cilantro it reminds me of our sweet and homey apio.
Cruising through google, I came across this delicious recipe from Williams Sonoma. I was immediately tempted to adapt it to our traditional apio soup. I thought that the idea of roasting the parsnips was fantastic, all vegetables acquire a very distinctive and seasoned flavor after being roasted. But then, I just couldn’t help but to use the apple in the recipe as well, I was sure it wouldn’t interfere with the other traditional flavors and I was right! The soup is very creamy and soft, and the apple leaves a subtle sweet and fresh aftertaste.
Recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma: Soup of the Day, by Kate McMillan.
Roasted Parsnip and Apple Soup
Yield: 5-6 servings
4 parsnips (medium to big)
1 small green apple, peeled, cored and diced
1 small sweet onion, diced
3 sweet peppers, thinly diced
1/4 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
5 cups Vegetable Stock
1 or 2 tbsp of cilantro (you can replace it with italian parsley)
2 tbsp of olive oil
1 tsp of butter
Preheat oven to 400° Fahrenheit. Peel and chop the parsnips and place in a bowl. Mix with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and pepper and line in a baking sheet. Roast for 20-25 min.
In a large saucepan heat the remaining olive oil with 1 teaspoon of butter over medium heat. Add the diced onion, about 1/2 tsp of salt and fresh ground pepper. Add the diced sweet peppers and sauté until soft, about 4 minutes. Once the onion gets translucent, add the freshly grated nutmeg and the apple. Stir in the mix for about 5 minutes, until the apples start to get softer. Add the roasted parsnips and sauté together for 4 minutes, stirring constantly allowing all flavors to mix together.
Add the vegetable stock and cilantro (or parsley), bring to a boil and then let simmer for about 25 minutes until all vegetables are soft and cooked.
Blend the soup with an immersion blender until you get the desired consistency. You could process the soup in the blender being extremely careful while blending hot liquids. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if necessary.