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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
  • salt

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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For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, click here.

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31 Comments Post a comment
  1. I’ve been making parsnip soups and curried root vegetable soups, too, but none of mine have quite met the mark yet. The best involved roasted parsnips and pears, celery root and lime zest.

    March 9, 2012
  2. carolyn #

    What a simple, delicious looking soup! I love the parsnip chips, and think kids would gobble those. The loaf in the background looks scrumptious!! I’ll be making this for some hungry boys. Sure is nice to have you back, Spreenkle!

    March 9, 2012
    • Simple, sweet and savory…and you’re SO right about the chips! I’d make extra of these for sure! Loaf’s coming! Thank you C! Awfully nice to BE back! xo

      March 9, 2012
  3. This is a wonderful recipe. I first saw curried parsnip soup during the 70’s in an all time classic cookbook ( with no pictures) called “Good Things” by Jane Grigson. A good buy if you can find a copy.

    March 9, 2012
    • I’ll have to snoop around for that. Thanks for the tip Roger.

      March 9, 2012
  4. Glad to have you back, Spree! This soup looks great and I’ll be giving it a go, crisps and all! Once again, your photos leave me salivating. 🙂

    March 9, 2012
    • Funny how a person can miss people she’s never “met” 🙂 but I sure have missed you guys! And now I have a lot of reading to catch up on! Thank you John. And don’t even think about doing the soup without the chips. 🙂

      March 9, 2012
  5. Jean-François #

    This looks great – I love the contrast of textures, and am getting hungry imagining the interplay of the sweet, tart, aromatic and piquant elements.

    March 9, 2012
    • Oh you, Jean-Francois, you do have it figured out! 🙂

      March 9, 2012
  6. How exotic! This looks like something right out of a magazine.

    March 9, 2012
  7. I’m so glad you’re back.. I’ve missed your pretty blog posts and recipes:) This one is just the perfect recipe to come back to.. I love the wee little parsnip chips.. what a perfect and hearty soup filled with sweet veggies!! xoxo Smidge
    ps As you know, I’m subscribed via email, that link didn’t open your page today.. I still found you (I will always know where you are;) but thought you should know… xo

    March 9, 2012
    • Smidge! I’ve missed you friend!! I know I’ve missed a couple of your posts and am anxious to get caught up and see what’s baking in your kitchen and hopefully a bit of what’s happening around the table too.
      Thanks so much for the heads up on the faulty link! I’ll offer an explanation with my next post (this afternoon.)
      So happy to be back in your company. Have a great weekend Smidge! xoxo

      March 9, 2012
  8. What beautiful golden loveliness!!!!

    March 9, 2012
  9. Looks gorgeous – parsnips are a wonderful vegetable – and what a gorgeous way to prepare! Thanks Spree!

    March 9, 2012
    • Shira, thank you! They ARE a wonderful vegetable. I think they may just need a good ad campaign! 🙂

      March 10, 2012
  10. Oh, spree – ’tis good to have you back :D. This looks incredible. I hope I have time to get in the kitchen tomorrow.

    March 10, 2012
    • Ahh, Nick, thanks so much!! You warmed me cockles. 😉 And I’m hoping you do too!

      March 10, 2012
  11. Welcome back! This looks fantastic of course.

    March 10, 2012
  12. Welcome back 🙂
    Missed your stunning recipes and sweet comments.
    Again, an ingredient I wish we had here, parsnips are not that common here but I know a couple of places I might find it in…wish me luck

    March 11, 2012
    • oh I do Sawsan! Parsnips are just a favorite around here. And Thanks for the sweet welcome back!

      March 11, 2012
  13. Glad you had a nice time…but it is also nice to have you back I have parsnips in the fridge and my husband asked if I would make soup. Perfect timing I think.

    March 11, 2012
    • Some things just seem to be fated, don’t they? 🙂

      March 12, 2012
      • Perfect Spree, thank you for making my husband happy.

        March 12, 2012
        • Karen, I only typed the recipe, it was YOU who made him happy! 🙂

          March 12, 2012
  14. This one sounds, looks, and (in my mind’s sensors) smells absolutely spectacular. I love the whole combination, the creamy thick puree, the crisps, and the perfect welcome-home from arduous travel! Love it.
    xoxoxo
    Kathryn

    March 11, 2012
    • You’ve got the same kind of active sensors in your clever mind that I do (though your brain’s far more clever than mine – just saying we each delight in the taste of things that never even touch our tongues) — sounds like you might like this soup Katherine – though you might like it even better with a slightly heavier hand on the spices.

      March 12, 2012
  15. Oh good — I’m glad you made a new link. I wanted another look at this soup. Thanks.

    March 12, 2012
    • Of course, you’re welcome!

      March 12, 2012
  16. Welcome back! I adore parsnips but it´s so hard to find them here in Andalucía and they need the cold to grow well. I shall just have to dream of how good this must have tasted 😉

    March 16, 2012
  17. Looks delicious! Great photos!

    August 9, 2012

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