How about a winter white soup for this time of year? The flavor combinations are very tasty and the fennel adds a bit of anise flavor and compliments the strongness of the parsnips.
Parsnip, Fennel and Leek Soup
1 ¼ pounds parsnips (about 4 medium)
1 pound fennel (about 2 medium bulbs, to yield 12 ounces trimmed)
3 medium leeks
6 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk or 1/2 cup milk , 1/2 cup half and half
Preheat the oven to 250°.
Peel the parsnips and trim off the stem end. Cut into evenly sized chunks. You should have 1 pound trimmed parsnips. Remove the stalks from the fennel bulbs, quarter them and cut out the tough core. Rinse the bulbs under cold water, making sure there is no dirt between the layers. Cut into chunks roughly equivalent the parsnips. Trim the leeks, discarding all but the white and palest green parts. Slice each leek in half and run under cold water, fanning out the layers to remove any dirt. Cut into chunks the size of the other vegetables.
Place all the vegetables in a 5-quart oven-safe Dutch oven. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cover the pot and move it to the oven. Leave the soup in the oven for 3 hours until the vegetables are completely soft.
Remove the pot from the oven, uncover and leave to cool slightly. Using an immersion blender, or very carefully on batches in a blender, blend the soup until smooth. Add the milk and blend until completely smooth. Taste and add salt if needed. Reheat the soup, but do not boil, and serve.
The soup can be made ahead and gently reheated. Add a bit more milk to thin it out if needed.
Can be served with some fresh chopped chives or green onions for some added color.
Makes about 4 bowls