|spicy parsnip and ginger soup|
Last weekend I hiked up to Birmingham, to attend the BBC GoodFood Show (more of this tomorrow) and to stay with an old friend of mine from days of yore.
I hadn't seen this friend for a couple of years, despite frequent phone calls, so we had loads to catch up on. It was a fabulous weekend, full of great food, wine, lots of laughter and far too little sleep. (Too much to say, not enough time!)
Katy had made a fabulous parsnip soup from Nigel Slater's Tender (Volume I) book. I have yet to own a copy of this (sacrilege I know, considering my devotion to the Sainted Mr S, but hey ho). And while I adore parsnips, I am not always so fond of versions that smother their mettlesome flavour with curry spices, but this recipe really does the trick.
Parsnip's affinity with salty cheese (I have used gruyere, but you could use cheddar or parmesan), adds a soothing quality that can almost make you forget the chill outside.
(adapted from Nigel Slater's Tender I)
Skill level: Easy
1 x English onion, roughly chopped
2 x large parsnips, roughly grated
2 x garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp chilli flakes (or to taste)
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 litre vegetable stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
125ml milk or single cream
gruyere cheese, cubed
- Melt a tablespoon of oil in a large heavy-based saucepan, together with a knob of butter over a moderate heat.
- Add the onions, with a little salt (to draw out the liquid) and cook gently for at least 10 minutes, until the onions have softened, but not coloured.
- Add the garlic, ginger and chilli flakes. Continue to cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the ground turmeric and grated parsnips and stir well to ensure that the vegetables are well coated in the oil-spice mix. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the vegetable stock, bring to the boil and then simmer for 20 minutes.
- Set aside and leave to cool before blending. (Do not try to blend when hot, as this can be dangerous, particularly if using a jug blender. A combination of hot soup, a build-up of steam and vibration, can cause the hot liquid to explode out of the blender. Safer to let it cool a little!)
- Blend to a thick puree.
- Add the milk or cream and check the seasoning.
- Bring back to a slow simmer and stir in the wholegrain mustard.
- Serve topped with the cubed cheese.