Carrot Parsnip Soup with Spicy Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

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Today we got a bumper of a CSA share just in time for Thanksgiving: Russet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and pie pumpkins.  It started snowing this afternoon, so I decided tonight would be a soup night.  Soup is always so comforting in the fall and winter, especially when it’s cold and snowy outside.  Plus Hubby loves soup, so I can rarely go wrong with that choice, though there is one recent soup event that I have not written about that haunted us for days.  Maybe I’ll touch on that topic another day.  Not here, though.

I’ve always been curious to try a carrot and parsnip soup, and given my abundance of carrots and parsnips, this seemed like the perfect opportunity.  Best part (besides how delicious it turned out): it’s incredibly easy to make!  I didn’t intend to give it a southwestern flair, but once I test-tasted it, I decided a little cumin and chili powder would pair well with it and the grilled cheese sandwiches.  I didn’t make a huge pot of it because I don’t want a lot of leftovers right before Thanksgiving, but there was enough left over that I will have it again for lunch tomorrow.  Yay!

Carrot Parsnip Soup

4 medium carrots, coarsely chopped

1 medium parsnip, coarsely chopped

1/2 medium onion, coarsely chopped

4 cups vegetable stock

2 cups water

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine the carrots, parsnip, onion, stock, and water in a large pot and bring to boil.  Continue cooking at a steady boil for about 20 minutes, or until the carrots and parsnips are soft.  Use an immersion blender and process the soup until all of the carrot and parsnips chunks are pureed.  If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can transfer it to a upright blender and process it in batches.

Once the soup is pureed, add the cilantro, sour cream, cumin, chili powder, and salt.  Reduce the heat to low and use a whisk to incorporate the sour cream so it doesn’t clump.  Adjust seasonings to taste, if needed, and serve.  This soup goes well with these grilled cheese sandwiches:

Spicy Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

4 slices of your favorite bread (I happened to have homemade potato bread)

2 ounces Pepper Jack cheese, sliced

1-2 tablespoons chipotle cilantro butter

Spread some chipotle cilantro butter onto one side of each piece of bread.  Place 2 slices of bread, butter side down, in a skillet.  Divide cheese evenly between the two slices of bread and top with remaining bread slices.  Cook over medium-low heat until bread is browned and cheese is melted.  Hubby made these (below) to help me out with dinner tonight.  Grilled cheese could be considered one of his kitchen specialties…as long as he doesn’t leave the kitchen and get distracted.  He has been known to burn a sandwich or two in his day.  But I really appreciated his help in the kitchen tonight.  And we both appreciated this simple, yet tasty meal.

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