Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Parsnip Soup

The parsnip season begins in earnest after the first frost which judging by the plummeting temperature will be soon upon us.

This pale and more intensely flavoured cousin of the carrot develops in flavour as the temperature drops below freezing. Its welcome presence on winter menus at least partly makes up for the iciness of the season.

Before potatoes made their way to European soil in the sixteenth century parsnips often filled their place, their roots even being ground to flour to make bread. As versatile as a spud they can be roast, mashed, boiled or chipped, their distinctive taste complementing a wide array of winter flavours.

Dice and add to stews for a bit of depth or grate and simply fry to make a rosti. My favourite way of using them is in a warming spiced soup or turned into home made crisps…

Parsnip Soup
(makes four large portions or six starter size)

1 medium onion
1 stick celery
3 cloves garlic
600g parsnips
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp garam masala
salt and pepper
bay leaf
chicken stock
oil for frying

Peel and roughly chop the onion and parsnips. Peel the garlic but leave whole and chop roughly chop the celery.

Heat some vegetable oil in a large sauce pan and when hot add the onions and celery. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally before adding the garlic and parsnips, stirring again and keeping over the heat for about five minutes. Add the garam masala and cumin, mix through the vegetables and cook for a minute or two more. Add the bay leaf and chicken stock to cover the vegetables, bring to the boil and simmer for twenty minutes, adding more stock if needed.

Allow to cool partially, remove the bay leaf and liquidise with a hand blender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Parsnip Crisps

raw parsnips
sunflower oil

Peel the parsnips and still using the peeler slice them into strips lengthways. Soak the strips in a large bowl of cold water for twenty minutes or longer which will release some of the starch and mean they curl.

Heat enough sunflower oil for deep frying in a large saucepan. Drain the parsnip strips and drop into the hot oil, separating them with metal tongs. Once golden, remove to some kitchen paper and with salt.

No comments:

Post a Comment