Spiced Parsnip Soup – a celebration of the winter vegetable

I can’t resist starting this post by telling you how excited I am by my recipe this week. Just so excited! Can you tell? I made this soup on the weekend for Sunday lunch and it was such a triumph. I had been quietly confident when I embarked on the cook that it was going to be delicious but this parsnip soup exceeded my expectations. Don’t you love it when that happens?

I always enjoy making soups during the winter months and parsnip is a favourite. But I wanted to try something different by way of ramping up the flavour with some spices. I took care as I made it to get the flavours and level of spice just right. It was more than just right. So delicious I can only be profoundly grateful that a batch went into the freezer. It winks at me now every time I open the freezer as a small reminder that I have a treat in store.

I’ve mentioned in previous posts how much I love winter cooking. And winter vegetables play a big part in making food so delicious and heartwarming at this time of the year.

Parsnips are my husband’s favourite vegetable and must always make an appearance in a roast dinner. But this outstanding vegetable is incredibly versatile and can be used in so many ways. Not to mention its nutritional value – the parsnip contains an impressive array of important vitamins and minerals. It’s a great source of fibre and potassium.

To hero the parsnip further, I made some parsnip crisps to garnish the soup. This involves nothing more than shaving some parsnip strips with a vegetable peeler, tossing them in a little seasoning and olive oil and roasting them in the oven for around 15 minutes. When you start eating these crisps sink into the soup, soften and then become a burst of pure, sweet parsnip flavour in your mouth.

Three cheers for the parsnip!

IMG_3223So without further ado, let’s get to the recipe.

 

Spiced Parsnip Soup

Serves 4-6

 

Ingredients

  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 650g parsnips
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple
  • 1.2 litres vegetable stock
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 200ml cream
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • Parsnip crisps, for garnish
  • Finely chopped chives, for garnish

Parsnip crisps

  • 2 parsnips
  • Olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt

 

Method

  1. Peel the parsnips and roughly chop (although you don’t want the pieces to be too big). Set aside.
  2. Measure the spices – cumin, coriander, garam masala, ground ginger and cayenne pepper – into a bowl and set aside.
  3. Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat.
  4. Add the onion and sauté until beginning to soften. Now add the garlic and using a microplane grater, grate the fresh ginger straight into the pot with the onion and garlic. Sauté for another few minutes until the onions are soft and translucent.
  5. Now add the spices and stir through the onion, garlic and ginger mixture until well combined. Continue to sauté for a few minutes to cook off the spices.
  6. Peel the apple and roughly chop, discarding the core.
  7. Add the chopped parsnips and apple to the pot and stir everything together. You want the parsnips and apples to be well coated in the spicy mixture.
  8. Pour in the vegetable stock, season and give it another good stir.
  9. Bring it to the boil, lower the heat and place a lid on the pot. Simmer for 30-40 minutes until the parsnips are cooked and soft.
  10. While the soup is simmering you can make the parsnip crisps. Have the oven preheated to 180°C.
  11. Peel the parsnips and then using the same peeler, take strips of the parsnip flesh. It’s not easy to use the whole parsnip as it gets smaller so don’t worry about that.
  12. Place the parsnip strips into a bowl and toss in a little olive oil and freshly ground black pepper. Then lay the strips onto an oven tray lined with foil. Cook for 10 minutes then turn over. Cook for another 5-10 minutes but watch very closely because they turn brown quite quickly. You want them golden but not too brown.
  13. Transfer the parsnip strips to a plate lined with kitchen paper. Sprinkle over a little salt and leave to cool.
  14. Now back to the soup. Once the parsnips are cooked and soft it’s time to blitz into a soup. I use my stick blender, which is great because there’s no need to remove the soup from the pot (although make sure you remove the pot from the hob when you do this). But a food processor or normal blender will also do the job. If you’d prefer you can let the soup cool a little if you don’t feel comfortable blitzing while it’s still piping hot.
  15. Return the soup to the pan or the pan to the heat if you’ve used a stick blender. Have a taste and check for seasoning.
  16. Bring the soup back to heat (although there’s no need to let it boil). Now add the cream, grate over a generous amount of fresh nutmeg and stir through.
  17. Adding the cream will drop the temperature a little so heat it through gently until the temperature is just right for ladling into soup bowls.
  18. Garnish with a few of the parsnip crisps and a scattering of chopped chives.

This soup is delicious – truly delicious – served with slices of grilled sourdough.

IMG_3206Take your first mouthful and marvel at the deep and complex flavour of this gorgeous soup.

IMG_3209

 

 

 

 

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20 Comments

  1. No wonder you’re excited about this recipe Tracey – the soup looks so so tasty!
    I too love adding apples to root vegetables soups, and the wonderful seasonings you have here round it all up. Love the crispy parsnip too. Will keep this in mind for winter. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yeah, it’s definitely winter here. Cold and raining today! This soup will be perfect once your weather cools. Parsnips are definitely one of my favourite vegetables. They’re beautiful roasted too. Thanks so much for your lovely comment.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Myra. Yes, this is definitely one for you to stash away for when the weather cools. It’s perfect for winter. It has been so cold here the last few days and soup is just the ticket. The warm spices really elevate it. A special soup.

      Like

  2. chefkreso says:

    This parsnip soup looks incredible and it’s just something I can see myself craving in winter or autumn, but nevertheless I would love to have it now even though I’m melting in the sun 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rini says:

    Great recipe and description Tracey! Your enthusiasm does show! Lol The soup looks delicious and adding the parsnip crisps on top is a wonderful way to garnish the meal. In sure they’d good separately too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Sandra. I’ve been so pleased to hear that many other people love the parsnip – such a great vegetable. You won’t be disappointed with this soup – the spices in particular really make it special.

      Like

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