Terry and Marion Boyd have been creating inspiration in their kitchen, and on their blog, Blue-Kitchen, for many years. In our search for comfort food recipes for fall and winter, we stumbled across this recipe from Marion for Potato, Parsnip, and Carrot Soup, and as well as her childhood memories of food and cooking. Her story is here.
“My mother didn’t care for cooking. She loved to bake, and my childhood is crowded with memories of amazing pastries—braided challahs; tiered cakes iced and decorated with tiny marzipan fruits and vegetables; sheets of napoleons so good that I don’t even bother to taste napoleons any more because they will be a disappointment; cinnamon rolls at once austere and intense. But the cooking? Oh, well.
There were exceptions, of course. For special occasions, roasted geese and ducks. Anything she ever made with a potato–latkes, kugels, salads. One of her attempts at Americana, chuck roast sprinkled with—yes!—dried onion soup and baked in aluminum foil, which I recall thinking was amazingly wonderful. And her soups. Elegant, clear, very gold chicken soup. Mushroom barley soup. Borscht, starting with the single most gristly ugly piece of beef at the store plus some dirty beets from the yard and transforming it all into this tart, clear purity. And potato soup with lots of fresh dill.
This dish is a modest homage to those wonderful bowls. On Sunday, we came home from an afternoon riding our bikes along the lakefront and tramping around Lincoln Park and then riding our bikes some more. The weather was more like early October than late August, cool, cloudless, with the sky that autumnal deep dry blue and a brisk wind, and we were STARVING. What did we have in the fridge? These very ingredients, and half an hour later they were dinner.
Potato, Parsnip and Carrot Soup
Serves 3 to 4
- 3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, not peeled but cut into approximately 1-inch chunks
- 1 parsnip, peeled and finely diced
- 1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
- 2 teaspoons butter
- 4 to 5 ounces kielbasa, diced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus a little more for garnish
Put the potatoes in a heavy pot, then add the diced parsnip and carrot to the pot. Add water just to cover. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the potato is cooked—about seven or eight minutes [see Kitchen Notes]. Turn off the heat.
Transfer about half the soup—both the vegetables and the liquid—either to your food processor or, if you prefer to use a wand, to a deep bowl. Add the butter to it. Purée, either pulsing your processor or zapping around with the hand wand.
When the soup is completely smooth, add it back into the soup pot and stir to blend. Put in four or five ounces of diced kielbasa and two tablespoons of fresh, chopped dill. Heat everything through and simmer for two or three minutes. Serve hot, garnished with more dill.
If you wish, instead of butter use olive oil, and omit the kielbasa. Honestly, this soup is hearty and delicious and satisfying even without the butter and sausage.”
Wet or dry? The water content of potatoes varies quite a bit, depending on the variety you use and on the time of year. Newly harvested potatoes have a higher water content than potatoes that have been in storage for some time. [I learned this the hard way, making potato gnocchi that gobbled an unimaginable volume of flour.] This variation in water content also affects the cooking time.
Photo credits and source: Blue Kitchen. Visit their website for chef inspired recipe adaptations, and commentary on local food trends.