Parsnip, potato, persimmon potage

It's rare that I get to accurately employ such a rare-word alliterative title, and I'm psyched. It's the little things, you know?! Since getting the boys off to school, I've been working like a busy bee, cleaning, writing and cooking. Though I loathe my vacuum cleaner, I am happily enjoying my day on the home front. And I'm on bowl two of this delicious new dish: my 3P potage. It is utterly perfect for this cold, overcast day, I dutifully wrote every detail of its making down so I can share it with you, and it made for a marvelous way to both clean out the fridge and highlight true stars of winter produce.

In case you're unfamiliar with the relatively antiquated, definitely rarely-used word, potage, it is a thick soup or stew in which the vegetables included (potages don't have to be vegetarian but this one is both veg and vegan) cook down into mush. The word potage derives from the old French pottage, meaning potted dish. Admittedly, I helped things along by whipping out my immersion blender when each veggie was easily pierced with a knife; mine is a Type-A potage made by a hungry gal. Bygones. It's delicious now matter how it came to pass.

Potages often incorporate the vegetables one has on hand. In this way, historically at least, they change with the seasons. In my fridge I had a fresh pound of parsnips and some lingering rutabagas. My pantry proffered a handful of small red-skinned potatoes, some shallots, garlic and good olive oil. And a glance at my windowsill reminded me that one of the persimmons I'd plucked last month was finally seriously ripe*.

The gears in my brain clicked into motion. A slow saute of chopped shallots and garlic then invited chopped parsnips, potatoes and rutabagas into the warm pot. I added salt, pepper, rosemary, and vegetable broth, brought things to a boil before lowering the flame to maintain a shy simmer. When the veggies were tender, I added a half-cup of the persimmon pulp and blended the whole thing into creamy oblivion. As a final touch of pretty and texture, I added diced persimmon (from the lesser-ripe of the two; but it was still pretty ripe) and a few rosemary leaves to the top. Both were delicious stirred in!

*I've had to learn that with persimmons you simply must wait until they resemble water balloons. Literally, the interior will be borderline-liquefied pulp encased by the tough skin. Then you can easily use the flesh without major fear that the tannins will make your mouth feel like you ate a furry caterpillar.