Parsnip Soup
Rustic parsnip soup with sweet potato leaves is a glorious comfort food on a cold day. Photo by Daniel Orr

Part 4 of a web-exclusive holiday recipe series that will enliven your holiday cooking. Click here to see all of the recipes from the series.

They may not be the stars of the spread, but these holiday-friendly soups and salads will steal the show of any potluck or cozy meal at home.

Parsnip Soup with Sweet Potato Leaves
Chef Daniel Orr

3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/4 c olive oil
2 white onions, diced into 1/4 inch bites
2 shallots, diced
6 parsnips, peeled and diced
3 c water or stock
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 c heavy cream
Large bunch sweet potato (or spinach) leaves, town into pieces
Lemon juice

1) Brown the garlic in a pan with the olive oil.

2) Add onions and shallots to the pan and increase the heat. Cook the onions and shallots until they are translucent. Add parsnips and cook.

3) Add water or stock and pinches of salt and pepper. Cover and bring the soup to a boil, then let it simmer for 15-20 minutes.

4) Add heavy cream and sweet potato leaves. Cook until the leaves wilt.

David Davenport’s Pumpkin and Butternut Squash Soup recipe. Photo by Lynae Sowinski

Pumpkin and Butternut Squash Soup
David Davenport
Bloomington Cooking School

1 15-ounce can pumpkin
2 butternut squashes
2 sticks salted butter
3 gala apples, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, diced
3 large carrots, peeled and grated
3 ribs celery, diced
2 garlic bulbs
2 32-fluid-ounce boxes chicken stock
1 cup Greek Gods plain yogurt, or to taste
2 teaspoons curry powder (Penzeys Maharajah recommended), or to taste
Olive oil

1) Cut the squash longways and remove the seeds and strings.

2) Cut off the tops of the garlic bulbs. Pour a small amount of olive oil into each bulb and tightly wrap the bulbs in foil.

3) Place squash (cut side down) and garlic on a pan lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350ºF until a fork easily penetrates the thick end of the squash.

4) Melt butter in a soup pan. Then cook apples, onion, carrots, and celery until soft. Remove from heat.

5) Squeeze meat from the roasted garlic bulbs into the mixture. Add 1 box of chicken stock and purée with an immersion blender until smooth.

6) Blend pumpkin, squash (scraped out of the shells), and yogurt into the mixture.

7) Whisk curry powder into a bit of the stock and stir into mixture. Add more stock until desired thickness is achieved.

Green Bean and Friends Salad. Photo by Erin Stephenson

Green Bean and Friends Salad
Chef David Davenport
Bloomington Cooking School

1/2 lb. orzo
1/2 lb. green beans
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tbs. white balsamic vinegar
2 tbs. lemon juice
2/3 cup fresh dill
2 cups English cucumber
1 bunch green onion
1 fennel bulb
1 cup pecans
Crumbled feta cheese, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste

1) Cook the orzo to package instructions, and let cool.

2) Trim off the ends of the green beans, and blanch the beans in boiling water for 1 minute. Then cool in cold water and cut into short segments.

3) Using a food processor, combine the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, and dill.

4) Chop the cucumber, green onions, fennel, and pecans.

5) In a large bowl, mix together the beans and all their friends.

6) Top with feta and taste for salt and pepper.

Wild Rice with Almonds, Dried Cherries, and Mushrooms
Chef Daniel Orr

6-8 servings

1/4 c butter or bacon fat
1 T garlic, minced
1/4 c onion, minced
1 c crimini mushrooms, chopped
1 c wild rice
3 c chicken broth
1/2 c dried cherries
1/2 c scallions, chopped
1/2 c slivered almonds, toasted lightly brown

1) Preheat oven to 325°F.

2) Wash and drain wild rice, set aside.

3) Melt butter in large skillet and add garlic. Allow garlic to just start to brown and add onions and mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms start to brown.

4) After about 20 minutes, add rice and toss to enrobe the rice in the mushroom mixture. Place rice mixture into ungreased 11/2 quart casserole dish.

5) Heat chicken broth to boiling and stir into rice mixture. Cover tightly. Bake about 1 hour or until all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender and fluffy.

6) Fold in cherries, scallions and top with almonds.

David Davenport’s Vegan Stuffed Pepper recipe. Photo by Lynae Sowinski

Vegan Stuffed Peppers
David Davenport
Bloomington Cooking School

2 cups brown rice, cooked
1 medium onion, finely chopped
6 large bell peppers
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup mint, finely chopped
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 ounces tomato paste
1 1/2 ounces currants, refreshed in warm water
3 tablespoons olive oil

1) Find the stable side of each pepper. With the pepper lying upon that side, cut a window into the pepper and remove the insides.

2) Grease a pan with cooking spray.  Place peppers on pan and blanch for 7 minutes at 375ºF.

3) Heat olive oil in a non-stick frying pan. Add onions. Stir for 4 minutes.

4) Add cooked rice, garlic powder, and tomato paste. Stir.

5) Add almonds, mint, parsley, salt, and pepper. Stir.

6) Mix in the drained currants.

7) Spoon mixture into the peppers. Bake for 20 minutes at 375ºF.

Brussels Sprouts
David Davenport’s Stir-Fried Brussels Sprouts recipe. Photo by Lynae Sowinski

Stir-Fried Brussels Sprouts
David Davenport
Bloomington Cooking School

1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
2 large shallots, finely chopped
1 1/2 sticks salted butter
1 tablespoon basil, or to taste
1 tablespoon parsley flakes, or to taste
1 tablespoon garlic powder, or to taste
1 tablespoon pepper, or to taste
1/2 tablespoon thyme, or to taste

1) Melt butter in a wok or large frying pan. Sweat the shallots for a few minutes on medium heat.

2) Add basil, parsley, garlic powder, pepper, and thyme and mix.

3) Turn up the heat and wait for the heat to take effect.

4) Place Brussels sprout slices in pan (add the Tamari, if you wish). Turn them over quickly and continuously until the sprouts are crisp-cooked. They will only be cooked for a minute or so.

5) Serve immediately.

David Davenport’s Mulligatawny Soup. Photo by Lynae Sowinski

Mulligatawny Soup
David Davenport
Bloomington Cooking School

Servings: 16

Chicken Broth

2 large onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
8 chicken thighs, chopped
2 quarts water

1) Simmer 1 large onion, 3 cloves garlic, and 4 of the chicken thighs in 2 quarts water until chicken is cooked.

2) Remove ingredients with a slotted spoon and set them aside in a bowl.

3) Take the remaining ingredients and simmer in the same broth. When chicken is cooked, add those ingredients to the same bowl.

Mulligatawny Soup

1 pound leftover turkey, chopped
1 stick butter
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup carrot, chopped
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons curry powder
Dried thyme, to taste
3 cups Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced (Gala also works)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 quart heavy cream

1) Melt butter and olive oil together in a small sauté pan. Sauté onions, celery, and carrots together until al dente.

2) Line a strainer with a wet cheesecloth. Strain broth through cheesecloth. Add vegetables, apples, and turkey to broth and bring to rolling boil.

3) Thoroughly mix curry and flour in a separate bowl. Add enough water to create a smooth mixture (no lumps).

4) Incorporate curry mixture into broth with a whisk. Add thyme.

5) Add cream, salt, and pepper to broth and stir.

6) Let soup simmer for about 30 minutes. It should thicken slightly (if needed, add spoonfuls of cornstarch to get desired thickness).