Sunday, September 7, 2008

Curried Parsnip Soup

Sunday 7am

Spring has just begun here in New Zealand, traditionally the time to be eating over wintered root vegetables, Brussels sprouts, and leeks. In the UK supermarkets have killed seasonal eating of course with green beans flown in from Kenya and so on, but here in NZ, miles from anywhere food is still quite seasonal. I like that. My body does too and I find I crave diferent things at different times of the year.

Here is my recipe for a spiced parsnip soup. I find parsnips can be a bit harsh but at this time of year, having been through a few frosts they are at their best and this soup brings out their sweetness.

- Put some olive oil and a quarter inch slice of butter in a pan to melt over a low    heat.
- Peel and chop a small onion, add it and leave to cook slowly until soft and        golden brown, this will take a good ten to fifteen minutes but don't hurry it, it  is  sweetness we are after here.
- Scoop out the onions into a bowl, turn up the heat and add three peeled and chopped parsnips.
- Let them cook until they begin to brown in patches and char at the edges. This  is the sugar in them caramelising and again brings out the sweetness.
- Put the onions back in along with a pint and a quarter of half strenght vegetable  stock, turn down until gently bubbling and leave until the parsnips are cooked,  twenty minutes or so usually.
- Liquidise the soup and return to the cleaned pan to reheat.

For the spicing most recipes add a teaspoonfull of curry powder but I prefer to choose my own spices and add them whole in a method I have seen for finishing off a dahl.

- put a little oil and some butter to melt melt ans sizzle in a fying pan.
- once the sizzling dies down add half a cinnamon stick, a couple of cardamom  pods and a teaspoonfull each of fennel seeds and cumin seeds.
- Fry them gently, taking them off the heat instantly as soon as they start to pop  and brown.
- Stir in a spoonful of ground coriander the add it all to the soup, or swirl it into individual bowls as you serve  

The spicing should be mild and not at all overpowering. I like the way that the seeds stay whole and you can crunch them as you eat releasing that fennel or cumin flavour in a burst. If your guests would be traumatised by the sight of all that butter being poured in you could of course toast the spices in a dry frying pan and serve them in a bowl at the table for everybody to scatter over their soup themselves.

Parsnip soup, perfect for a frosty winters day.

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1 comments:

SWEET MARY said...

Sounds yum Peter - you are going to run yourself ragged posting on two blogs!

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