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Parsnip and Apple Soup

1 large boiling potato

 2 parsnips (about 1/2 pound), peeled and chopped fine

 3 shallots, chopped fine (about 1/4 cup)

 1 leek (white and pale green part only), trimmed, halved lengthwise, washed well, and chopped fine

 1 granny smith apple

 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter

 2 to 2 1/2 cups chicken broth

 1 cup apple cider or juice

 1/2 cup heavy cream


To make soup: Peel potato and cut into 1/4-inch dice. In a heavy kettle cook potato, parsnips, shallots, leek and parsley in butter over moderate heat, stirring, until leek is softened, about 12 minutes. Add broth and simmer, covered, 20 minutes, or until vegetables are very soft. In a blender puree mixture in batches and transfer to a large saucepan. Stir in cider or juice, cream, and salt and pepper to taste and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Keep soup warm. Serve soup topped with julienne granny smith apples and a sprig of parsley. Makes about 4 cups.

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