Pear and Parsnip Soup

September 19, 2008


If you’re reading this page, you’ve landed on the old site.  Please visit the new location by clicking here–and don’t forget to update your readers and blogrolls!

As always, thanks for reading.  I look forward to seeing you at the shiny new Diet, Dessert and Dogs!

“Um, Mum, we are coming with you, aren’t we? Because (and sorry to have to tell you this), we actually have more fans than you do on this blog.” 

It seems like another lifetime now, but the year after my starter marriage

ended, I lived in a townhouse with my dear friend Gemini I.  Shortly after the furniture was placed and the boxes unpacked, we began to negotiate the rules of housework, grocery shopping, and TV usage when we got to chatting about food.  I remember asking, “Do you like cous cous?” (In those days, I ate it all the time, though it’s pretty much verboten now since I don’t eat wheat).  I was taken aback by her answer, which, at the time, I found a little odd.

“Well, I suppose I do,” she responded.  “There are times when I’ll cook it every day for two weeks, but then I might not touch it or even think of it for 8 or 9 months.”  I couldn’t imagine ignoring a food I actually enjoyed for that long (and chocolate? Well, that one would be calculated in hours–nay, minutes–rather than days or weeks). 

These days, though, I understand exactly what she meant.  When one maintains a food blog, the quest for the novel and atypical dish never ends.  This pursuit sometimes leaves old favorites languishing in the dust–or at the back of the cupboard (or both, in the case of our cupboard).  On the other hand, I might whip up something new from a recipe I found on another blog, and enjoy it so much that the HH and I will feast on said dish several times during the next week.  And the following week.  In fact, we might just consume that comestible every second or third day for two to three weeks (which does provide several useful photo-ops, after all)–and then dump it unceremoniously, just as Chaser dumps her squeaky ball (ad nauseum, I might add) at my feet.  Once I’ve gotten my fill, I move on, seeking the next culinary encounter.

Well, I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I often find myself with a surplus of overripe pears in the house, as I did a couple of evenings ago. Since the HH refuses to share in the burden of eating fruit (hey!  That could be the title of Michael Pollan’s next tome:  The Burden of Eating Fruit: An Exposition on Overripe Organic Produce), I’m always on the lookout for tasty recipes with pears, before they become too soft and squishy, too oozy, too yellow-flecked-with-brown.  Our freezer is already bursting with chopped, frozen pears, so I needed to cook up these babies–and fast.

It was then I remembered an erstwhile favorite, one that we consumed for a spell and then promptly forgot. It’s from one of my favorite cookbooks, Green by Flip Shelton. From what I understand, Shelton is kind of like an Aussie Rachael Ray, and isn’t taken very seriously as a chef (what’s that bogan doing cooking biscuits on the barbie? What a dag!  Well, she’s still ace to me.  G’day!).  The recipe sounds like an incongruous combination of ingredients (though not as incongruous as radishes, olives and grapefruit), mixing pear and parsnip with sautéed leeks, but the final result is incredibly tasty.  Fragrant, slightly sweet from the pears and slightly peppery from the parsnip, with a velvety smooth, light texture.  Yum-O!

And since this soup features both fruit and, well, soup, I’m submitting it to this months’ No Croutons Required, a monthly event hosted alternately by Holler (this month) and Lisa, which asks us to cook up either a salad or soup with fruit as a main ingredient. 

Oh, and before I sign off, I really must thank all of you for being so understanding and so polite.  I mean, it’s painfully evident that I was a total bust at the ACD this time round (okay, maybe not a TOTAL bust–I did last almost 2 weeks). And yet you’ve all had the diplomacy and tact not to mention it!  For that, I am grateful. 

And while I’ve decided this may not have been the best time to embark on an even more restrictive diet (school starting up, cold weather coming, cookbook calling), I do still try to eat foods that would fit within the parameters of the diet as often as possible, perhaps minus one or two ingredients. Well, turns out this fantastic soup could easily qualify as an anti-candida meal, even without trying (if you’re following the version that permits non-tropical fruits, that is).  It’s also a very simple, very nourishing concoction that offers fabulous fiber from the pears, a hit of extra calcium from the parsnips and a satisfying early autumn tummy-warming. You may even decide to make it again and again–at least, for a couple of weeks or so.   

Pear and Parsnip Soup

from Flip Shelton’s Green


It may not be entirely photogenic, but this easy, quick recipe produces a satisfying soup.  The combination of slightly sweet, slightly peppery, and slightly creamy works beautifully here.



26 Responses to “Pear and Parsnip Soup”

  1. Celine Says:

    never have I wanted to dive headfirst into a bowl of soup as I do now, reading this.

  2. Lucy Says:

    Ah, so you’re acquainted with the gorgeously-brimming with health Ms Shelton, I see.

    I saw her, once, at the market where I shop and thought I should say hello. But then I saw how gorgeously-brimming etc, etc, she was and chickened out. This looks and sounds stunning.

    P’raps I’ll give it a ‘burl, poss. (Short for ‘possum’ and only used here because of my outrageously over-the-top use of ‘darls’ recently).

  3. kathryn Says:

    Flip Shelton – never heard of her. Would have sworn till I was blue in the face she wasn’t a real person . . . until I saw Ms Lucy’s comment.

    I’m obviously not Australian-enough.

    But a big “ooooh” to your soup. Nifty combination of pear and parsnip. In fact a combo I’ve never tried. And easy too.

    Shame pears and parsnips are just heading out of season here. If I wasn’t distracted by the excitement of fennel, baby zucchini, mangoes and asparagus I’d be making this in a flash.

    I shall bookmark for next winter.

  4. shellyfish Says:

    I love pears & I love parsnips – I can’t believe I’d never, ever thought of putting them together! This sounds delicious. And I am still laughing about your suggested Pollan title! I think, sadly, that resonates true for many people…

  5. I’m with shellyfish. This combination sounds beyond amazing. Parsnips are going on my list to buy (I already have pears!).

  6. Johanna Says:

    I think you have hit on one of the burdens of being an omnivore – hard to have such a range of ‘favourite’ foods and eat them all the time (excepting chocolate of course which is a friend to all favourite foods)

    I have heard of Flip Shelton – have flipped through the book in bookstores (ha ha) but don’t know much else about her – she might be on community radio? I think have also heard of this combination and being interested but never enough at the right time – hopefully one day as it looks v good (and your photo is tantalising)

  7. I’m with you…I never forget about food for long.
    We’ve got beautiful pears in season, and I have pear muffins in the oven as we speak..

  8. VeggieGirl Says:

    “When one maintains a food blog, the quest for the novel and atypical dish never ends.” I wholeheartedly agree!! I’m always looking for ways to make baked goods and other dishes more innovative and interesting.

    That soup sounds so enticing – I never would have thought to pair pears (whoa, that looks weird, haha 😉 ) with parsnips!

  9. Maureen Says:

    I was just thinking to myself what to make with parsnips! And, like you, I have a surplus of pears. Great pic, great recipe!

  10. Ricki Says:

    I bet the pear would be good for your complexion, too. 😉

    I’m not surprised to hear that’s what she’s like in person (much more glam than Rachel Ray, I daresay). “Poss”–I love it! Thanks for another bit of Aussie slang for my repertoire! 🙂

    I know, with a name like “Flip”–the only other one I’d ever heard of was Wilson. Do give this a whirl when the seasons change again over there!

    Don’t feel bad–I’m sure very few would think of this combination without prompting. And glad you like the title! 😉

    Yay! Let me know how you like it if you do try it. 🙂

    Yep, she’s the one–community radio celeb, I guess. I hadn’t thought about THAT omnivore’s dilemma–how true!

    How serendipitous! Hope you liked the muffins as much as I liked this soup 🙂

    I know you’re a kindred spirit when it comes to the quest for novel and interesting. . . oh, and can I use that phrase in a spelling test for my class? (pair/pear!) 😉

    It’s worth getting out the blender for this one. Let me know what you think if you do give it a try!

  11. holler Says:

    Sounds good and looks great! And… I do love that spotty bowl 🙂

    The line-up and voting poll wil be up on tinned tomatoes tomorrow.

    Good Luck


  12. ClaudiaWR Says:

    Hi Ricki,

    I have been away from blogging too long! Pear and parsnips…what an insanely good idea! I hope everything goes well with the cookbook.


  13. phillyphood Says:

    First, you have a wonderful blog.

    Second, I’ve been following Gillian McKeith’s Slim for Life 28-day food plan, trying to re-train my tastebuds and lose my sugar/caffeine habit. She’s a holistic dietician from Scotland who has her own show, You Are What You Eat, which I watch on BBC America. Her recipes are vegan or fish based (which I swap) and she is all over pureed soup. I cannot wait to add this recipe to the rotation.

    P.S. The plan is also anti-wheat, so yet another reason to love your blog. I ate some funnel cake at a farmer’s fair today though, so I feel for you trying to eat well all the time and being tempted. However, the funnel cake was not worth it. It feels like folding a grapefruit every time I move, so I’m back to being and eating good.

  14. Anniebeth Says:


    A simply delightful recipe…I am glad you posted it. I would have never thought of combining pears with parsnips Will definitely have to give it at try.

  15. ttfn300 Says:

    OOh, yum!! I couldn’t eat pears for awhile, but I think they might be ok now… And this leaves me longing for those lovely parsnips I passed over at the farm yesterday! I’ve only had them once, but am eager to try them in new forms 🙂

  16. giz Says:

    What an interesting combination. I bet I could get baba to eat this one and the nutrients would do her good. Yup, gonna make it.

  17. mihl Says:

    This soup looks really beautiful!
    It’s sounds like an interesting combination and I bet it was totally delicious.

  18. Maureen Says:

    Hi Ricki,
    I didn’t get your googlemail email…it must be lost in cyberspace somewhere. Thanks for letting me know about the soy sauce error…oops!
    In answer to your question, I’m pretty sure it’s 2 tbsp of Braggs soy sauce (I think other kinds contain a gluten-containing product in the colouring agents). However I am in Ottawa until tomorrow night so I’ll send you a definitive answer when I get back to Toronto, where the recipe is. I can’t imagine it being any more than 3 or less than 1 though. I’ll let you know!

  19. Diann Says:

    I think I’ll jump over to Holler’s site and vote for this soup! I would never eat a plain ol’ pear, but it seems perfect in this soup. AND it must be perfect for anyone’s diet.

  20. Maureen Says:

    Okay I checked–it’s definitely 2 tbsp GF soy sauce! (or regular soy sauce if you’re not aiming for a GF recipe)

  21. Lisa Says:

    A lovely soup Ricki. Thanks for sending this to our event. As the weather gets cooler, I am once again focusing on soups.

  22. meg wolff Says:

    This soup looks like a winner. I have never had pears and parsnips, but I’m tempted to try! Thanks.

  23. Lizzie Says:

    Oh yum! I would never think of combining pear and parsnip, but it sounds great!

  24. bee Says:

    i think parsnips do not get their due share of recognition. they are delicious in so many ways. i would love to try this combination. the colour of the soup is glorious.

  25. Oh nice! Last night I did a soup with pears, acorn squash and aduzki beans. Parsnips are however much easier to peel than acorn squash…

  26. […] for One, Cooking for Two Pear Bread at Bake or Break Pear Pecorino Potato Soup at Cooking with Amy Pear and Parsnip Soup at Diet, Dessert and […]

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