In wide saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter. Add shallots and onion and sauté, stirring, until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add wine, stir well, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until wine is reduced by half, about 10 minutes.
Add parsnips, chicken stock, vinegar, salt, and pepper and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently, uncovered, until parsnips are completely tender, about 45 minutes. Remove pan from heat and use immersion blender to purée the soup (or cool slightly and purée in batches in standing blender, transferring purée to clean saucepan). Whisk in half-and-half. Set over low heat and rewarm until steaming. Serve 3/4 cup portions in soup bowls.
- Canyon Ranch's chefs recommend making your own chicken stock or using natural brands such as Imagine or Pacific Natural Foods, which tend to be low in sodium and are free of artificial ingredients.
- For a pretty garnish, top the soup with chopped parsley and roasted parsnips: Simply peel and cut one large parsnip into thick matchsticks, toss with a small amount of olive oil and sea salt, and roast in a preheated oven at 450° until soft and brown, about 20 minutes.
- Take care when puréeing hot liquids. If using a standing blender, cool the liquid slightly before pouring it in, and cover the blender's lid with a kitchen towel to avoid burns from escaping steam. If using an immersion blender, submerge the blender in the liquid before turning it on to avoid splatters.
Epicurious, March 2006, Recipe developed by the kitchens of Canyon Ranch