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Cream soups without cream..? ---and notes on soup stock

Peggy L. says:
I like cream soups--true comfort food for me. But usually they are made with cream or milk and flour to thicken them. If you are wanting not to eat so much of these that's a problem. I stumbled upon this solution recently - PARSNIPS! They are delicious and give the soup a creamy texture when blended. Here's the recipe for Creamy Celery-Parsnip Soup:

1 lg. bunch of celery, cut into 1/2" pieces
1-2 parsnips, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 small onion (or use several shallots), sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp butter (or substitute oil)
1 quart vegie stock*
1 tsp dried Herbes de Provence or your choice of herbs
salt & pepper to taste

Heat oil & butter in a soup pot, add onion (or shallots), garlic, and parsnip cubes. Gently saute for 3-5 minutes. Add celery pieces and herbs and saute gently for another 10 minutes or until the vegies begin to soften. A little browning is fine. Add broth and simmer until the vegetables are soft. Using a hand blender, blend the soup until you have consistency you like. (A hand blender is so much safer and less messy than using a regular blender for this part.) Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

* Vegetable stock is so useful and it's easy and inexpensive to make. I realized this when I was making a vegetable soup a while back and became aware that I was putting the makings of some good stock into the compost. So I pulled the good stuff out, washed it off, and threw it into a pot with water. Before long, it was a delicious-smelling broth to use or freeze for later use. Some things you can put into the vegie stock pot are: onion ends, leek tops (really good), potato peels, carrot end and peels (if you peel them), parsnip ends and peels, celery ends, etc. Of course you can also throw in perfectly good vegies, too. At Deer Park, I've also seen apple floating around in their stock pot. Yum! If you're not making a large amount of vegie leavings at once, you can make deposits into a plastic bag and keep it in the freezer until you have enough for a pot of stock. Enjoy.

Thanks! I'll definitely try this one. I find that pureeing summer squash is another "creamy" treat. In fact, I sometimes freeze chunks and use them in smoothies, as a highly virtuous ice cream substitute!
Alison S.

Thanks, this is an excellent recipe, and the vegetable stock idea makes it even better.

It reminds me that lately I have started using vegetable bouillon in the water, in practically every recipe that calls for boiling or steaming. Since it is only a flavoring, I use the little cubes that come wrapped in aluminum foil most often. It transforms a pot of rice, mashed potatoes, or any steamed greens; gives them a deeper, more interesting flavor and color. The little packages take almost no shelf space, which is very nice too.

I have made several meals lately consisting of mashed skin-on Yukon gold potatoes (I buy no others) with a very liberal dose of lightly sautéed garlic and vegetable bouillon added to the normal recipe, and the roasted Brussels sprouts we discussed last month. Proof of its merit is that my daughter, who often can barely be coaxed from her bedroom to eat, will go out of her way to come home and stuff her petite self with this stuff! It keeps well in the fridge too, she even loves the left-overs!


Take any amount of cashew nuts (depending on how much "cream" you need); put it in the blender and add water to cover. Blend at high speed until nuts are thoroughly liquefied. You may want to thin with additional water to get cream-like fluidity. The resulting mixture can be substituted for dairy cream in soups.