Sunday, December 30, 2012

Parsnip, Fennel and Tarragon Soup with Squash and Apple Turkey Cheddar Sandwiches

We used to have this designated area in our living room, originally called "the reading nook."  It was a futon mattress covered with pillows and surrounded by books.  This eventually got phased out to make space for the nugget boy. But that reading nook actually had very important second function, which became our more commonly used term for the space.  It was called "the mope hole."  The mope hole was a fun place for - you guessed it! - moping.  Mad or sad or stressed about something?  Just go to the mope hole and hug a pillow!  Snuggling into a makeshift fort of books and pillows is a surefire way to lift a dark mood.  After a good mope, the sun shines brighter, the birds chirp more beautifully, the grass is greener, the sky bluer, I'm sure you get the cliched picture.  But alas, I am a woman without a mope hole.  So instead, I look to delicious food to eradicate a foul mood.  A warm bowl of parsnip, fennel and tarragon soup served with a grilled turkey, apple, and squash sandwich, all melty with cheddar, was just the thing to help me recently on a cold, (relatively) dark day.

6 peeled parsnips, cut in half lengthwise
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced on mandolin
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
salt, to taste
white pepper, to taste
1/3 cup tarragon leaves
2-3 tablespoons of juice from Meyer lemon
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup ricotta
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 cups chicken stock
deli turkey slices
slices of good quality cheddar
a roasted slice of acorn squash
slices of Granny Smith apple
good quality Dijon mustard
slices of whole wheat bread
1 tablespoon canola oil

Heat oven to 400.  Place parsnips and fennel in baking dish.  Cover with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until tender and brown.  Remove from baking dish and place in a pot.  Add tarragon, lemon zest, lemon juice, ricotta, whipping cream, and chicken stock.  Blend everything together with an immersion blender (or pour into a blender or food processor), and puree until smooth.  Gently heat the soup until hot.  To assemble the sandwiches, place the turkey, cheddar, squash, and apple slices between the slices of bread, and smear one piece of bread with the mustard.  Heat oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat and place the sandwich(s) in it.  Bronze one side of the sandwich, then flip over to bronze the other side.  Serve the soup with the turkey sandwiches, and feel your mood, hopefully, become a happy one.


  1. Interesting combination of flavors but soup and cheesy sandwich usually cheers me up, too. :)

  2. Ahahaha, I think I need a mope hole. That sounds fun!

    There's such an interesting flavor combination in this soup; color me intrigued.

  3. I definitely use food, or at least the process of cooking to put me in a better mood. This soup looks delicious! SO hearty.

  4. My mood is directly related to whether or not I have eaten or not. Food is the ultimate comfort, and this looks like the best thing. Yum!

  5. I want a mop-hole! Hugging a pillow sounds fantastic. This soup looks so good. I love the flavor combo. I would totally dunk that sammie into the soup.

  6. What a lovely winter soup. I need a mope hole. What a perfect name.

  7. Hi Jenn! This soup looks so delicious and comforting! A nice creamy soup would always cheer me up especially on a cold day. Happy New Year! :)

  8. You guys always come up with the best combos! Happy New Year!!

  9. This sounds like a great combination of flavors!
    A hot,tasty soup can cheer up the coldest day :)
    Happy New Year!

  10. Love a good mope! Despite the fact that my mom reminds me that "no one likes a sour-puss" every time we're about to hang up. :P

    I want this entire batch of soup!

  11. I ma getting hungry for this soup.
    Have a wonderful new year!

  12. Ah the classic soup and sandwich. An always delicious combo. I like the fact you roasted the parsnips and fennel to use as a base for the soup.

  13. ohh i could get lost for days in your reading nook! Soup is a great substitute for a mope hole ;) and this one sounds lovely, love the fennel addition. Happy New Year!

  14. I love fennel and parsnip and cannot wait to try your soup! Happy New Year :)

  15. I love fennel and parsnip and cannot wait to try your soup! Happy New Year :)

  16. I love all the flavors you have going on in this soup!

  17. I'm really loving this fennel and turkey combination. I've fallen in love with fennel recently. Try this compote.

    Never tried it with poultry though, so looking forward to it.

  18. Seth, thanks for bringing parsnip to the party. I am a bit worried that this week will see a predominance of sweet pumpkin dishes... Cheers


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