curried parsnip & apple soup with parsnip crisps
I’ve missed you. I’ve travelled north and south several hundred miles, through every kind of weather – rain, snow, sleet and hail. Had a flat tire along the way, but counted myself lucky that the sun peeked through winter skies for that part of my adventure. Traveling weather aside, it was a sweet trip, with little ones, lots of laughing, art and raucous play.
Now back home, I’m again purring away happily in my kitchen. And here’s what’s on the stove – it seemed only fitting – a delicious, homey soup for the last chill days of winter. The warmth of curry spices, the sweeter-than-carrot sweetness of parsnips, puréed to a velvety smoothness, earthy sweetness then brightened by grated tart apple. Topped with fried crispy bites of parsnip coins and served with a bread of parsnip, parmesan & sage, still warm from the oven. (A recipe for this quick-bread will follow later today.) With meals like these, we can handle a few more weeks of winter.
Curried Parsnip and Apple Soup with Parsnip Crisps
- 1½ lbs. (700 g) young parsnips (about 5 or 6)
- 1 medium Granny Smith or Bramley apple (or another, tart & crisp)
- 1¼ teaspoons coriander seeds
- 1¼ teaspoons cumin seeds
- 6 whole cardamom pods, seeds only
- 1½ 0z. (40 g) butter (1½ Tablespoons)
- 1 Tablespoon neutral-tasting oil (canola, grapeseed, etc.)
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1¼ teaspoons turmeric
- 1¼ teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 quart quality vegetable or chicken stock
- salt & freshly-ground pepper, to taste
for the parsnip crisps
- 1 medium to large parsnip
- 6 Tablespoons neutral-tasting oil
Using a small frying pan over medium heat, dry-roast the coriander, cumin and cardamom seeds. (2-3 minutes.) (Crush them using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.
Heat the butter and oil in a large saucepan until the butter begins to foam. Add onions and gently sauté until soft, then add the garlic and cook another couple minutes. Add the crushed spices along with the turmeric and ginger and cook gently for a few minutes as you prepare the parsnips. Peel and dice parsnip into 1-inch cubes. Add these to the saucepan, stir well, then slowly add the stock. Add some salt and pepper and allow the (lid-less) pot to simmer, as gently as possible, for about 1 hour.
Prepare the parsnip crisps: Peel and slice into the thinnest rounds possible, using a sharp knife. Heat the oil in a 10-inch frying pan until almost-smoking hot. Fry the parsnip coins in batches until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. They’ll curl into ruffled shapes. Remove from the pan with tongs or slotted spoon and place on paper towels to absorb extra oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
When the soup is ready, remove from the heat and, working in batches, purée in a blender until velvety smooth. Return soup to the saucepan, taste for seasoning and adding more salt & pepper as necessary. Just before serving, very gently re-heat the soup – add peeled and grated apple. (If soup is too thick for your liking, add a bit more stock or water to thin slightly.) Once apple is added, allow soup to softly simmer for only 3 to 4 minutes before serving. Serve in heated soup bowls, garnished with parsnip crisps.
Recipe adapted from Delia’s Vegetarian Collection, by Delia Smith
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