Lush Life

To be a lush chef, does not mean to drink in excess - this can result in scary fires and bad dishes. A lush chef is one who enjoys gourmet cooking/baking, often with fresh ingredients and the smart use of one's home bar. If there happens to be half a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a sip of brandy left over...well, one cannot be wasteful. I give you permission to imbibe.

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The Lush Chef
Twitter: @thelushchef Provenance: Santa Monica Dish: Coq au Vin Spirit: Whiskey Wine: Malbec Beer: Hefeweizen Farmer's Market: Santa Monica on Main Street
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Dec 27, 2011

Parsnip & Chestnut Bisque with Marsala

Libations used: 1/4 cup sweet Marsala wine
Libations left over: the whole bottle, so stow it in the cupboard
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire...okay, so maybe not over an open fire, but I was definitely roasting some chestnuts in the oven.  I found this Parsnip and Chestnut Bisque recipe on Tasting Table from the vegan Philadelphia restaurant Vedge.  I had never eaten parsnips until last year and I love them—they're in season now, so snatch a few next time you're at the farmers market.  They look like giant white carrots and have a slightly sweet and gingery taste, which goes nicely with the allspice, cloves and nutmeg in the bisque.  This soup is a perfect post-holiday meal alternative to offset all the heavy eating you've been doing during those Christmas parties (and a little Marsala doesn't hurt!).  I opted for the non-vegan version by using regular cream cheese, but feel free to experiment.  

Parsnip & Chestnut Bisque with Marsala - serves 6-8
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 lb parsnips, peeled and chopped in medium pieces
  • 1/4 cup sweet Marsala wine
  • 8 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups roasted and peeled chestnuts
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or cream cheese (the recipe calls for tofu sour cream or cream cheese if you want to go vegan)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

- To roast the chestnuts, heat the oven to 400 and cut little x's with a sharp knife (be careful!) on the flat side of each nut.
- Place on a baking sheet and roast for 15-20 minutes.
- When the chestnuts have cooled, peel them
- In a dutch oven or medium stockpot over medium heat, add olive oil.
- Once it's heated, add the onion, garlic and parsnips and sauté until the parsnips begin to brown (about 5-6 minutes).
- Add the Marsala and cook until it's reduced by half (about 2 minutes).
- Add the chestnuts, sour cream/cream cheese and stir in the vegetable stock and spices.
- Bring to a simmer and cook the parsnips until they're tender (about 8-10 minutes).
- Remove from heat and set aside to let the mixture cool slightly.
- Add to blender or food processor and purée.
- Season with salt and pepper, to taste.