Holiday Parsnip Soup with Cornmeal-Crusted Oysters & Pomegranate Syrup

Holiday Parsnip Soup with Cornmeal-Crusted Oysters & Pomegranate Syrup

Prep Time

45 minutes

Cook Time

60 minutes



Elegant holiday entertaining is easily perfected with parsnips, pomegranates, and fresh herbs. Sweet, earthy, tart, with just a kick of heat, this festive soup will absolutely wow your guests!


  • 4 pounds parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons sea salt
  • 3 teaspoons white pepper
  • 8 cups chicken or vegetable stock (more as needed)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • Garnishes: freshly grated nutmeg, fresh herbs (e.g., sage and thyme), and pomegranate seeds
  • Pomegranate Syrup:
  • 4 tablespoons POM juice
  • 8 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Cornmeal-Crusted Fried Oysters:
  • Oil for frying oysters
  • 8 to 10 fresh oysters, drain and pat dry with paper towel
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons cayenne or red pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper


  • 1 Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • 2 On a baking sheet, toss parsnips and onions with olive oil and plenty of salt and white pepper. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, turning once halfway through.
  • 3 While parsnips and onions bake, make the pomegranate syrup. As an alternative, you can buy pomegranate molasses.
  • 4 Transfer parsnip-onion mixture to a large pot with stock. Bring to a boil then add cream. Simmer 10 to 15 minutes until tender. Let cool a few minutes before transferring to a blender.
  • 5 Purée in blender with butter until smooth and velvety. If the soup is too thick, slowly add a little extra stock at a time until you reach your desired consistency, keeping in mind that the soup should be thick. Reheat in saucepan before serving.
  • 6 Pomegranate Syrup: Add all ingredients to a small, heavy pot, and bring to a boil. Let reduce to syrup, about 4 to 5 minutes. Set aside.
  • 7 Cornmeal-Crusted Fried Oysters: Heat oil in a heavy pot to 350°F. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and a pinch of salt and pepper. In another bowl, mix together cornmeal, flour, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Swirl oysters in the milk mixture then dredge in the cornmeal mixture, packing the cornmeal onto the oysters. Fry oysters in oil until browned and crispy, turning once. Drain on paper towels.
  • 8 To Assemble - Divide soup evenly into bowls and top with an oyster. Swirl in a small amount of pomegranate syrup. Top with pomegranate seeds and fresh herbs. Finish with a light dusting of freshly grated nutmeg over each bowl.


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