Roasted Parsnip and Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

Jerusalem artichokes have nothing to do with Jerusalem, nor are they a member of the artichoke family. They are actually the root of the sunflower plant. However they got their name does not matter, because they are delicious. They have a nutty, earthy flavor similar to an artichoke. Paired with sweet, roasted parsnips, it is a match made in soup heaven.

Serves 6

8 large parsnips, peeled and cut into large pieces
Olive oil
1 pound or about 10 Jerusalem artichokes, peeled, diced and placed in acidulated water (water with lemon juice added to keep the Jerusalem artichokes from becoming discolored)
3 medium shallots, peeled and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
½ cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
5 cups of chicken stock
¼ cup chopped, toasted hazelnuts
Toasted hazelnut oil for garnish (optional)
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400.

1. Drizzle the parsnip pieces with olive oil. Place the parsnips on a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast the parsnips in the preheated oven for 45 minutes until they are soft and lightly browned. Transfer the parsnips to the insert for the slow cooker. Drain the Jerusalem artichoke pieces and add them to the insert.

2. Place a small sauté pan over medium high heat. Lightly coat the pan with olive oil. Sauté the shallots until they are slightly browned and soft. Add the garlic and continue cooking for 2 more minutes. Add the wine to the pan and cook the mixture for 3 minutes. Add the wine, shallots and garlic to the insert for the slow cooker. Add the fresh thyme and chicken stock to the insert for the slow cooker.

3. Cover and cook on LOW for 5 hours until the Jerusalem artichokes and parsnips are very soft. Puree the soup in batches or with a stick blender until the soup is very creamy. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Garnish with chopped, toasted hazelnut and a drizzle of toasted hazelnut oil.

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