Shiitake mushrooms — along with onions, garlic, ground coriander and a bit of tomato paste — lend a nuanced earthy back note and a lovely caramel color to this delicious parsnip soup. Using fresh Island parsnips (or any thin-skinned parsnips) means no peeling (yay!), and this small batch of soup comes together in under an hour.

The soup can be doubled to serve more. If you find you want more liquid at the end, use a combination of chicken broth, water, and/or cream or half n half. If you want to make a vegan version of this, reconstitute a small amount of dried mushrooms and use the soaking liquid in place of the chicken broth (and add the diced mushrooms into the soup). For meat lovers, feel free to garnish this with crumbled bacon or crispy salami.

Serves 2 to 3


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces onions (about 2 small), peeled and diced (2 cups)
  • 3 ounces shiitakes, stemmed and thinly sliced (about 2 scant cups)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 8 to 10 ounces fresh parsnips, topped and tailed, very thinly sliced (2 cups)
  • 1 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth (plus a bit more to finish)
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup half ‘n’ half (0ptional)
  • Crusty bread for serving


1. In a Dutch oven (that has a lid), melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions, the mushrooms, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Stir, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent and the vegetables are starting to turn lightly brown, about 6 to 8 minutes. (Reduce the heat if the vegetables are cooking too fast.)

2. Uncover, add the garlic, the tomato paste, and the coriander, and stir well for 30 to 60 seconds to soften the garlic and distribute the tomato paste. Add the white wine and simmer, stirring, until mostly reduced (about 1 minute).

3. Add the parsnips, ¼ teaspoon salt, the 1 ½ cups chicken broth and the 1 ½ cups water. Cover, bring to a simmer, reduce to a low simmer and cook for 18 to 20 minutes (the parsnips should be just tender – check after 15 minutes if you like.)  Be sure to keep the soup pot covered to trap the liquid.

4. Take the soup off the heat and let rest, loosely covered for 10 to 15 minutes. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup very thoroughly until it has a uniform consistency. (Alternatively you can use an electric blender, taking care not to overfill and blending with a towel over the lid). Stir in the apple cider vinegar and taste. The soup should have plenty of salt, but if necessary, add a bit more. It will also be fairly thick. If you would like a slightly thinner consistency, you can add a bit of chicken broth combined with water or a few tablespoons of half ‘n’ half. Take care not to add so much liquid as to dilute the flavor.

5. Serve with crusty bread.