The earthy flavor of parsnips goes especially well with fragrant pears, but carrots or even rutabaga work nicely in this soup as well. Serve it as a first course or as a light main dish with a crusty whole-grain bread.;
Position rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 450degreesF.
Toss parsnips, pears, onion, oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper in a roasting pan. Roast, stirring every 10 minutes, until very soft and starting to brown, about 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, boil vinegar in a small saucepan until syrupy and reduced to about 1/4 cup, 10 to 14 minutes. (Watch the syrup carefully during the last few minutes of reducing to prevent burning.) Remove from the heat.
Puree half of the parsnip mixture with broth in a blender until very smooth; transfer to a large saucepan. Puree the other half with milk until very smooth. Add to the saucepan and stir in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Reheat the soup over medium heat, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Gently reheat the balsamic syrup if it has become thicker than syrup while standing. Ladle the soup into bowls and drizzle with the balsamic syrup.
NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per serving: 250 calories; 4 g fat (1 g sat, 2 g mono); 8 mg cholesterol; 49 g carbohydrate; 7 g protein; 9 g fiber; 515 mg sodium; 687 mg potassium. Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (50% daily value), Folate (27% dv), Calcium & Potassium (19% dv). 2 1/2 Carbohydrate Servings Exchanges: 2 starch, 1/2 fruit, 1/2 low-fat milk, 1/2 fat
TIP: Remove the fibrous, woody core of parsnips before using: quarter parsnip lengthwise and cut out the core with a paring knife.
From www.eatingwell.com with permission. 2009 Eating Well Inc. Photo by Ken Burris