Parsnip & Turnip Soup at Fairmont Chateau Whistler – A Perfect Apres Ski Warmer Upper

Over a week ago, I took a beautiful drive up to Whistler and stayed the weekend. My time there was filled with a lot of fun – dining, spaing  and sking. I had the opportunity to catchup with old friends that I previously worked with at a tech startup a few years back. Nicole, now from Florida gave me a shout and invited me to stay with her at Chateau Fairmont Whistler and I felt spoiled. Nice hotel and great fine dining.

After being outside for the day enjoying the snow and blue skies, I went for dinner at The Wildflower Restaurant in The Fairmont and ordered the soup of the day, which was a Parsnip & Turnip Soup with Bacon.

The Verdict of Fairmont Chateau’s Parsnip and Turnip Soup with Bacon?
Well…let’s just say this soup purred with bacon and the root vegetables were delectable. This soup was rich, tad sweet with an earthy warm base. The root chips were a superb touch for a garnish. The serving size was just right – not to big nor too small. I had just enough room to have the Quinoa risotto afterwards. The soup was a great warm bread dipper and I loved how this restaurant serves up a basket of variety of breads. I loved the fact that the soup had maple syrup and lee and persons – two ingredients I never used in soup and may do so in the future!

I have to give kudos to the waiter. Chris, the waiter was extraordinary because he was probably one of the first servers ever who provided me with the most detail when asked about what was in the soup. He came back to me with a full list of ingredients from the chef. Normally when I ask at a restaurant, I get a two main ingredient answer, which shows no effort what-so-ever.

The following are the ingredients Chris shared with me: parsnip, turnip, onion, maple syrup, potato, celery root, bacon, thyme, salt and pepper, garlic, lee & perons, butter

Chris did not give me the measurements but I am going to take a guess at them and perhaps try to make this soup in the near future,

Parsnip and Turnip Soup Ingredients (Estimate of measurements from my soup making experience):

  • 1/4 cup bacon, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups parsnip, chopped
  • 2 cups turnip, chopped
  • 1 cup potato, chopped
  • 1 cup celery root, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon Lee & Perons
  • 6 cups Vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons thyme, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper
Parsnip and Turnip Soup Instructions:
  1. Chop the bacon into small pieces and cook it over very medium-low heat in a heavy bottomed pan.
  2. Reserve the bacon on a plate with paper towel, leaving about a tablespoon of bacon fat in the pan to saute the onions.
  3. Add the butter to pan, saute onions and garlic for about 5 minutes, or until onions are translucent.
  4. Add parsnip, turnip, potato, celery root to the pan, saute, stirring occasionally, and cook for about 8 more minutes.
  5. Add the bacon pieces, maple syrup, lee and perons, thyme and the vegetable stock, bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat. Cover the pan and simmer until the root vegetables are soft (30 minutes). Check the soup occasionally to see if more liquid is needed; the lentils should be covered.
  6. Turn stove off and puree.
  7. Add the salt and pepper (to taste) and serve.
  8. Ladle in serving bowls, garnish with fried root vegetables
Soup Mistress Rating for Parsnip and Turnip Soup with Bacon:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (3.5/5)
Presentation: (4.5/5) 
Taste: (4/5)

White Russian Borscht at Andy’s Bakery on Commercial Drive – A Soup Review

White Russian Borscht

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White Russian Borscht at Andy's Bakery

Just yesterday, I was in Vancouver’s Commercial Drive area and I decided to go for lunch at Andy’s Bakery (935 Commercial Drive). My girlfriend Karen Winter (a soup-a-holic like myself) highly recommended that I checked out Andy’s for its Split Pea Soup and I’ve been meaning to do so for quite some time.  But when I first arrived, I was disappointed that the Split Pea Soup was not available – it was on the menu yesterday.  Awe shucks!

I thought to myself that I will have to come back to Andy’s for the Split Pea Soup another day. But one second later, the White Russian Borscht Soup stopped me from exiting the bakery. Hmnn, I never heard of White Russian Borscht. So, why not stay and have some?

Since I am very familiar of and a big fan of Ukrainian Borscht (I grew up in the north end of Winnipeg which was highly populated with Ukrainian delis and perogi houses), I was curious to find out what was the difference between Ukrainian Borscht and White Russian Borscht.

So a large cup it was!

I did like the taste of the White Russian Borscht soup. The soup had some fine tasting stock base with cabbage and seemed to be seasoned quite well with dill (although, I can tell it was dried dill and not fresh dill). The soup was light and not too heavy. I think potatoes were used to give it an additional creamy texture and not cream per se. The soup did not seem to have red beets but carrots may have given it an orange tint. I am guessing that no beets were used and turnips were used instead – hence the “White Borscht” label. I could only guess the other ingredients because the lady at the counter could not tell me what the ingredients were what-so-ever. Personally, I find it very odd that she did not know the ingredients. Employees should know when customers ask the question, no? Maybe the soup was a pre-made soup or prepared offsite? But still, there should be no excuse on not knowing the ingredients so that you can tell your customers.

So what are the differences between Ukrainian Borscht and White Russian Borscht?

I did a bit of online research and here is what I have found:

  • Ukranian Borscht: Is typically made with beetroot as main ingredient.  Other country recipes have tomatoes and then beetroot as main ingredients.
  • Russian Borscht: It seems as though there are many versions of Russian Borscht with beets, but no White Russian Borscht documented on forums or Wikipedia from a history stand point.
  • Polish Borscht: There is talk of a White Polish Borscht (aka zurek) which typically has dark rye flour, hard boiled eggs, smoked kielbasa and horseradish. That is NOT what I had yesterday.

But wait…..I did find one recipe that refers to White Russian Borscht that can be close to what I had yesterday. I am guessing that this version of borscht is newly created and not something handed down from our grandparents time. Chef Andrea Reusing’s White Borscht With Turnips, Savoy Cabbage and Horseradish recipe looks close to what I may have had yesterday and she does refer to it as “White Russian Borscht” in the article.

Have your heard of White Russian Borscht? If you personally know what it is or have made it in the past, please feel free to comment on this post!

The verdict of Andy’s Bakery White Russian Borscht Soup? Overall, I do recommend this soup if you are ever in the Commercial Drive area and in a rush. It did taste very good and won’t break the bank for $4.20 with a roll.  Don’t expect fine dinning or ambiance though, the eating area is basically a counter at the window – which was just fine for myself yesterday.

This soup is a contender to recreate at home in the future with some very minor tweaks. I would try to follow Andrea Reusing’s recipe (link above):

  • add fresh dill and lot’s of it. Andy’s soup had dried dill – it is easy to notice that.
  • use a splash of white wine to give the soup a little acidity and to elevate the taste.
  • use a dollop of sour cream on the top as garnish with a fresh sprig of dill.
  • use smoke bacon or kelbasa.
  • dice potatoes and turnip in a consistent manner and not let them get to mushy before serving.
  • used low sodium vegetable stock, especially if I use bacon.
  • serve it in a pretty white glass bowl.

Soup Mistress Rating for White Russian Borscht at Andy’s Bakery:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (3.5/5)
Presentation: (2.5/5) 
Taste: (3.5/5)