I often cook up a very simple meal which involves some good quality sausages or pork chops with lots of fat chunks of root vegetables thrown into a large roasting pan. Covered with a drizzle of oil and some seasoning, it gets bunged into the oven for 45-60 mins until ready. It’s a lazy but always tasty option if I’m not feeling too creative or adventurous. There’s a lot of peeling and chopping involved at the start, and then the slow-roasting, so it’s not a quick fix, but one I fall back on often in the colder months. I do however, always make sure to add more vegetables than I really need so I can make soup for lunch the next day, a bit quicker than usual. Roasted veg take on a sweetness that makes the soup taste extra special, but you could also make this from raw ingredients.
After researching several recipes for spicy parsnip soup and squash soups, I decided to make up my own using a combination of recipes and recommendations, mainly from Sarah Raven and Nigel Slater. Cumin, coriander, turmeric, chilli, cinnamon, mace, nutmeg, caraway seeds, and mustard are all suggested in one recipe or another! I decided to make life easy for myself and use Nigel’s recommendation of teaming parsnips with garam masala, as it pretty much covers all bases, with a pinch of cayenne pepper for extra warmth. So it tastes like a curry in a soup, but in a good way!
The squash crisps are from Sarah Raven’s Garden Cookbook, and I really do recommend going to the extra effort for these, they are as delicious as the soup, and very easy to do.
The squashes, parsnips, potatoes and onion are all from the plot.
- 2 parsnips, peeled and chopped into chunks
- half a butternut squash, peeled and chopped into chunks
- a few peelings of squash flesh for the crisps, if using
- groundnut or rapeseed oil
- 1 onion, quartered
- 4 cloves of garlic, left whole in their skins if roasting, otherwise peeled and chopped.
- 2 medium potatoes
- 1 tsp garam masala
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- 500ml chicken or vegetable stock
- dessert spoon of creme fraiche (or cream).
- If using pre-roasted veg – squeeze the garlic from their cases then add to the rest of the vegetables in a large saucepan. Add the spices and the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes, then blitz with a hand blender (or use a conventional blender / food processor), add more water if necessary and finally stir in the creme fraiche.
- If using raw vegetables – sauté the onion gently in a little oil and butter until soft, add the other vegetables and cook for a further few minutes. Add the spices, stir to coat, and then add the stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for around 30 minutes or until the vegetables are soft enough to blitz – blitz. Add more water until you reach the desired consistency, simmer for a few more minutes and then stir in the creme fraiche.
For the squash crisps:
- Use a potato peeler to cut some slithers of flesh from the squash. You can do this at the start and leave them to one side while you make the soup.
- Heat some groundnut or rapeseed oil in a shallow pan until hot, then add the squash peelings and fry until golden and crisp at the edges. Drain on kitchen paper. Add to the top of your soup.