2-3 T extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 1/2 lbs. parsnips, roughly chopped (I had 3 large ones that came to about that.)
3-4 medium fingerling potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped (about 1 C)
a Bouquet Garni of 3 sprigs parsley, 3-4 sage leaves and 1 bay leaf, tied between 2, 3″ pcs of celery
8 C water or vegetable stock (I used water and a low-sodium vegetarian bouillon this time.)
1/4 C rolled oats
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 T lemon zest, for garnish (optional)
For the croutons:
6 small slices of your favorite bread, large dice
2 T extra virgin olive oil
Dried herb of choice (basil or oregano or thyme are delish:)
Sea salt, to taste
1. In a medium or large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook for 5 minutes before adding celery and carrots. Season with sea salt.
2. When mire poix (remember that’s the onion, celery and carrots in a 50/25/25 ratio) is tender, add parsnips and potatoes and season again with a little salt. Deglaze with a 1/4 C of the water or stock and continue cooking for a few more minutes.
3. When all those veg are sufficiently mixed together, add the water/stock and the bouquet garni. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce to medium-low, add rolled oats and partially cover.
4. Cook for about 30 minutes or until the parsnips and potatoes are very tender. Remove the bouquet garni and take saucepan off the heat to settle for 10 minutes. In the meantime, set up your blender and have a kitchen towel handy.
(While the soup is cooking, you can get the croutons going. Place the croutons on a sheet pan, drizzle olive oil evenly on bread, then add herbs and salt. Toss to coat evenly. Place sheet pan in the oven at 325° for 10-15 minutes, checking often to make sure croutons don’t burn. Toss when necessary. Alternatively, you could toast them stovetop but placing the croutons in a sauté pan and cooking over low-medium heat for about 10 minutes.)
5. One ladleful at a time, carefully place hot soup in an even amount of veg and liquid into the blender. Blend on high until ultra creamy. Repeat this process until the soup is done. Be sure to use the hand towel to hold the lid of the blender because the steam will lift the lid.
6. Return the soup to the saucepan and place over low heat. Add the lemon juice and let warm for a couple of minutes. Do a last minute check on flavor and add salt and/or pepper as needed.
7. Ladle soup into individual bowls and top with fresh, warm, crunchy croutons!