Braising: a happy place between sautéing and boiling. The speed of steam and liquid, and the rich flavour of browning and condensing. Amazing!
Sometimes it's nice to have a simple soup, with only one or two main flavours. This one is earthy and sweet, with a lovely pairing of apples and parsnips. If you don't have apple cider, just add an extra 1/2 cup of broth. Also, use oil instead of butter for a vegan soup.
I got the idea for this from Mark Bittman's cookbook, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. This is a take on his braised carrot soup. (such a good cookbook- very accessible, very comprehensive).
3 or 4 medium parsnips, peeled and sliced
3/4 cup water
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp maple syrup
salt and pepper, to taste
3 or 4 cups of vegetable broth
1/2 cup apple cider
Put parsnips, water, butter, maple syrup, salt and pepper in a pot. Bring to a boil, turn down to medium, and cook, covered for 5 minutes. Uncover, add apples, turn heat to high, and cook until almost all the liquid is gone. Stir frequently to prevent burning. Add vegetable broth and cider, and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until parsnips are very soft. Use an immersion blender (or food processor/blender) to puree.