Spontaneous Cuisine: Parsnip Velouté with Aged Mimolette Cheese

Published by Thursday, December 15, 2011 Permalink 0
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Itsy Bitsy History of the Parsnip

In the Middle Ages, Geneva was running over with parsnips, which they referred to as “white carrots”. It was almost always included in their “eternal pots” of soup, which consisted of seasonal vegetables that they just kept adding more vegetables to as needed, and a piece of meat once a week.

After World War II, many root vegetables went out of fashion in Europe, because people had had to survive on them and nothing else during the war, so farmers eventually stopped growing them. The same went for pumpkin. People in the north of France who had lived through the war and eaten pumpkin every day couldn’t bear the thought of eating pumpkin ever again.

In recent years, these old-fashioned vegetables, including parsnips, have again become available, and chefs are going crazy with new ideas on how to use them.

Parsnips are plentiful at the moment and there’s nothing better than soup to warm you up on a cold winter’s day. Eric Burkel, former financial analyst, entrepreneur and now president of his local food coop in Paris, got this recipe from one of the farmers who supplies vegetables to the coop.

Parsnip soup recipe


500 g / 1 lb parsnips, peeled
80 g  / 30 oz aged Mimolette cheese
60 cl / 2.5 cups chicken broth, heated
15 cl / 1/3 pint extra-thick cream
4 shallots
1 branch of celery
30 g butter / 1 oz. butter


  1. Finely chop shallots. Melt butter in a saucepan. Slowly cook shallots until clear.
  2. Cut parsnips into cubes. Thinly slice celery. Mix, then add to saucepan.
  3. Pour chicken broth over vegetables. Salt and pepper to taste. Let cook on low heat for about 25 minutes.
  4. While soup is cooking, use a vegetable peeler to cut the Mimolette into extra-fine slices. Set aside.
  5. When soup is cooked, turn down heat and add cream. It is ready to serve as soon as the cream has melted into the soup and is warm.
  6. Pour soup in bowls. Sprinkle with slices of Mimolette.
Note: This can be made ahead of time. If you do so, mix quickly with a hand-held electric mixer, then reheat in microwave.
Suggestion: For a different take on the recipe, you could also add chopped apples after pouring the soup into the bowl. Croutons and herbs are also complimentary.
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