Monday, October 29, 2007

Spicy Parsnip Soup

I got a little over excited on the root vegetable front at the market on Saturday and so, by time I got to doing the veg for the roast I didn't bother with the parsnips but didn't really have an alternative for them either. But they are a lovely versatile vegetable, sweet and starchy, good in many forms - grated raw in salads, mashed with butter and cream as well as an ideal accompaniment to roast dinners.

My man has a passion for them curried in soup - he told me once it was his favourite dish. Winter feels like it is coming, parsnips need frost to sweeten properly, and soup is the antidote to cold nights that follow short bleak days. Perfect. I didn't have any curry powder but that was no reason to fret.
Spicy Parsnip Soup

2 or 3 big fat parsnips about a kilo in weight
1 potato, floury and about the size of your fist
1 tspn cummin seeds
1 tspn brown mustard seeds
1 tspn coriander seeds
1 tbspn oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbspn ginger, grated
1 small red chilli, finely chopped
1 tbspn garam masala
1 litre stock
100ml fresh cream
Salt and pepper

Peel the parsnips and potato and cut them into chunks roughly the same size. Heat the oil in a large heavy based pan and throw in all the seeds. Stand back - they will spit and splatter like an anxious cat. When it calms a little reduce the heat and add onions, ginger, garlic and chilli. Cook over a gentle heat until the onion is translucent - 15 minutes or so. By this time it should be lovely and fragrant.

Add the vegetables and stir to coat then add the stock. Simmer for 20 -25 minutes till the veg are soft. Take the pan off the heat and blitz till smooth. For ultra smooth then push through a fine sieve - but I'd only do that if I wanted to serve it as a starter. For autumn suppers it's better a little roughly textured.

Return the pan to the heat and stir in the garam masala and cream. Cook gently for a few minutes then serve in big bowls with crusty bread on the side.

Made with love for the man I love who loves this kind of soup. I created bliss on a Friday night.

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