Creamy Parsnip & Pumpkin Soup with Thyme-Crusted Proscuitto


A vegetable-based, creamy soup is perfect for frigid winter nights. It’s healthy enough to be respectable (compared to, like, pizza) and more rich and smooth than you’d expect from a humble parsnip soup. 

There are three keys to this comforting, flavorful soup: 
  1. Coconut milk – unsweetened coconut milk is not a “healthy” substitute for heavy whipping cream in my book. Coconut milk just tastes better than cream to me. It’s creamy, nutty, and so flavorful. The texture thickens soup without making it taste heavy (which may or may not be a good thing, I dunno). 
  2. Smooth texture – use an immersion blender, a food mill (if you’re totally an Ina Garten), a blender, whatever it takes. A smooth, even texture makes this a velvety-smooth delight. Stirring in the pureed pumpkin helps, as does taking a couple of extra minutes to make sure that the soup is entirely blended – no lumps of parsnip for us. 
  3. Thyme-crusted prosciutto – now this sounds fancy. It isn’t. Just a quick couple of minutes in a skillet with olive oil, loads of thyme, and prosciutto. The thyme sticks to the prosciutto, which crisps when cooked. The crunchy, meaty topping adds rich depth and a unique, chewy contrast to the smooth soup. 

The fragrance of the prosciutto cooking attracted the usual suspects. Mops even dropped her beloved sock to better beg for scraps.  


I made this soup with this-and-that that we had on-hand because we were too cold to run to the grocery store after work today to be “green”. I had originally planned for last night to be chicken gyro night. But, lacking literally any of the ingredients for chicken gyros, this felt like a creative alternative. To say that Husband was skeptical of a parsnip soup, even a creamy one with “fancy, Eye-Talian bacon”, is an understatement. Once he tried a spoonful, though, all doubt subsided. No, literally, he stopped talking. Well, until he’d eaten his entire bowl, at least. 

Creamy Parsnip & Pumpkin Soup with Thyme-Crusted Proscuitto
Serves 4

You will need:
  • 1/3 cup shallots, coarsely chopped
  • 2/3 cup yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 lb. parsnips, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree 
  • 1 x 15 ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried parsley (or 3 tsp. fresh parsley)
  • 4 slices prosciutto (1 slice per serving), chopped

Method:

  • In a large pot on medium heat, saute shallots and onion in 2 tbsp. olive oil for two minutes. 
  • Add parsnips and dried rosemary and cook for an additional five minutes, stirring occasionally, to begin to brown the parsnips. 
  • Add chicken stock and reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, or until parsnips are soft. 
  • Meanwhile, heat a small skillet to medium heat. Add 1 tbsp. olive oil, chopped prosciutto, and 2 tsp. dried thyme. Cook for 2-3 minutes and set aside. 
  • Once the soup is done, puree parsnips until smooth in small batches (or use an immersion blender). 
  • Stir pumpkin puree, coconut milk, 1/2 tsp. thyme, salt, pepper, and parsley into the large pot. Let the mixture cook on low heat for a couple of minutes until thoroughly incorporated, stirring occasionally. 
  • Serve hot, topped with prosciutto. 

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