Once upon a time, my friend Kieran and I used to have a parsnip club. Sounds a bit odd you say! To others it may have been, but to us it was a very cool and unique thing. Meeting up monthly to discuss this oft neglected vegetable, unusual ways in which we could consume it and general parsnip related natter. A few tried to join this exclusive club but failed to pass the rigorous selection criteria. The club itself is still active, but with both our busy lives considered, meetings are a rare thing indeed.
This mildly spiced roast parsnip soup was one of our favourite recipes. Works a treat as a starter option on Christmas Day, or any day when a warm comforting velvety soup is what’s hankered for. The addition of some mild spice proves to be a suitable companion to the robust, earthy flavour of the vegetable itself. It’s not always easy to make a soup look sexy, but with some croutons, cream, olive oil and mixed seeds, your inner artistic instincts can come to the fore.
To soundtrack your creation, I suggest a tune that has a real Christmas, winter wonderland feel. The theme tune from the Edward Scissorhands movie by Danny Elfman.
Begin by roasting the parsnip, onion, garlic and thyme in some oil and honey in a 180 degree oven for 25 minutes, or until soft. Remove from the oven and transfer into a pot. Add the stock, curry powder or paste, cream, and bring to boiling point. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for a few minutes. Whizz everything up with a hand blender or food processor until really smooth. If the consistency is a bit too thick, add small amounts of boiling water, until the consistency is to your liking. Season with salt pepper and a squeeze or two of fresh lemon juice. This will really make it sing.
Transfer into individual serving bowls and decorate with the croutons, cream, olive oil and seeds.
– 2 tbsp olive oil
– 1 onion, roughly chopped
– 2 peeled cloves garlic
– 1kg parsnips, peeled, cut into chunks
– 3 sprigs fresh thyme
– 1 tbsp honey
– 1/2 tsp hot curry powder, or 1 tsp of green curry paste
– Salt and freshly ground black pepper
– 1 litre of chicken or vegetable stock
– 1 pack of croutons
– 350ml double cream
– 1 tbsp of Lemon juice
– Sunflower seeds / pumpkin seeds