Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Spiced Roasted Parsnip Soup

The weather was lovely yesterday...which made a change from all the past week of grey drizzle and rain rain rain. Under blue clear skies and crisp sun I had fun checking over the veg plot and harvesting some parsnips. Got some beauties, large and perfectly formed...chuffed to bits with that...but also got a few hilarious misshapen ones that looked like mini octopuses. I think they must have hit stones or obstructions in the soil that forced them to send out multiple roots...but hey ho...they aint for show and as long as they taste great they can still be used. They may not look great and be good enough for roasting or crisps...but they are perfect for soups and mashes. Seeings as we were off for a late night game of rugby last night, and no time to sit down to eat tea, I made a parsnip soup to take instead. It's a recipe that was passed on to me some time back and has been tweaked a little over time...but the original version remains scrummily tasty and a firm hit with all that have tasted it...and it's a perfect hearty tummy warmer for cold nights on the pitch side!

I been asked so many times to write out the recipe so have decided to blog and share it with you all here...along with the variations I have tried with success and recommend. I did take photos...but have just discovered the batteries in my camera have run flat...so while they recharge, I'll post out the details and add the pictures later.

Easy to prepare and cook....ENJOY!

SPICED ROASTED PARSNIP SOUP (aka Angies misfit parsnip soup)

Feeds 4 ......or 2 very greedy hungry rugby supporters!

This healthy non-cream version freezes very well.

Prep time approx 15 mins Cook time approx 40 mins

Preheat oven to 220c / 200for fan / gas mark 7

1 large ONION
approx 675g PARSNIPS
2 plum sized TOMATOES
1.2litre good quality VEGETABLE STOCK
SALT & PEPPER to taste
1 tbsp lemon juice (optional)

Pre heat oven. Dry fry the coriander, cumin and mustard seeds in a heavy based pan until the aromas are released, then grind to a fine powder and stir in the turmeric. Set aside.

Prepare vegetables by peeling and cutting into large equal sized pieces. Quarter the tomatoes and place with the garlic cloves, onion and parsnips in a bowl. Coat evenly with the oil and a grinding of salt and pepper and tip into a large roasting tray. Roast for approx 30mins or until tender and golden, keeping an eye that they do not catch or burn (or the black bits will taint the final soup).

Spoon into a processor, liquidiser, or hand blend in a large pan with half the stock until smooth, stir in the ground spices and remaining liquid and cook on a gentle heat for another 10-15 mins. Check seasoning. Stir in the lemon juice just prior to serving with a sprinkle of additional roasted cumin seeds (optional), chunks of bread or naan.

The original recipe calls for the whole spice seeds to be mixed into the oil and onto the vegetables prior to roasting but I found that they burnt easily and left a slight tinged taste to the soup, plus they were hard to liquidise down completely to give a smooth soup, leaving bits of gritty seeds which was unpleasant to eat. Dry frying off and grinding the spices, then adding to the liquidised soup afterwards and cooking on for a further 10 mins or so makes no difference to the taste of the soup.

If you've not got whole spice seeds to hand or the ability to dry fry and grind them from fresh...shop purchased curry powder can be used with relative success.

Take care with the seasoning if you use a vegetable stock cube as these can be high in salt.

For a real kick, add a couple of chillies. Either roast and liquidise with the vegetables, add flakes with the spice powder, or sprinkle over prior to serving.

A couple of carrots roasted with the parsnips adds a little extra special something to the taste...plus gives the soups a lovely mellow orange colour. Either include the carrots in the 675g weight of parsnips, or use as extra vegetable and increase the quantity of liquid to prevent the soup becoming too thick.

This soup is a healthy non fat version but if you'd prefer a richer creamier soup you can add some cream to the liquid veg stock measure...or just stir a spoonful in prior to serving. A more healthier option is to use natural yoghurt (and leave out the lemon juice). Take care when cooking with the creams or yoghurt so that it doesn't split.

Serving the soup sprinkled with roasted cumin seeds is optional and I actually prefer a grating of parmesan cheese.

For a truly filling dish....cook and stir in a handful of pasta before serving or chunks of boiled potatoes.

Not tried this yet, but have been assured that a couple of spoonfuls of left over soup, over a baked potato with cheese is delicious. Sounds weird but apparently it works!

Hope you try out this soup