Originally from Lawrenceville, Georgia, Ryan Smith’s first restaurant job was at the age of 15. He then attended engineering and culinary school in Georgia. Following, he joined the team at the original Watershed restaurant in Decatur as a line cook. While there, he worked under two of his greatest mentors, chef Joe Truex, and chef Steven Satterfield, who was Executive Sous Chef at Watershed before going on to open renowned Atlanta restaurant Miller Union. Today, Ryan lives by the train track behind Atlantic Station and cooks by the train track at Southbound! His versatile cooking style showcases clean flavors made from the freshest, local, Southern ingredients. (bio and photo of dish courtesy of Blue Hominy PR; photo of chef Ryan Smith by Haley Sheffield)
Pear & Parsnip Soup with Pistachio
4 cups diced Vidalia or yellow onion
1/4 cup sliced garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
3 lbs peeled and sliced parsnip
2 bosc pears, peeled and sliced
1 gal mushroom (or vegetable) stock
1 tbsp salt (or to taste)
1 tbsp chopped thyme
Heat a heavy bottomed pot over medium-low heat.
Add the olive oil to the pot, and cook the onion, garlic and salt for about 5-10 minutes or until very soft and sweet but not brown.
Add parsnip, pear, thyme and stock to the pot. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cook until parsnips are soft but not mushy and falling apart. Transfer soup to a blender, and blend on high until very smooth.
Toast pistachios in a 350 degree oven for 2-3 minutes.
Garnish soup with pistachios and a drizzle of olive oil.