So this is my final parting recipe for this blog. I had intended to post a few recipes over the Christmas period, but a combination of illness and family commitments put paid to that, and so this has crept into 2016.
This is a lovely creamy soup, with the warmth of ginger making it perfect for a cold wintry day. As I came down ill on Christmas eve, I just about managed to cobble together some good old leek and potato soup which slipped down perfectly. This one would have been good too.
It has used up the very last of my final butternut squash, but sweet potato would be a good substitute.
- 1 small onion or a couple of shallots, peeled and sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic (more if you prefer)
- 1 thumb sized piece of fresh ginger
- roughly 3 parsnips, peeled and chopped
- roughly half a butternut squash, peeled and chopped
- 1 pint / 500ml chicken or vegetable stock
- 400ml can coconut milk
- In a large saucepan, add a little oil or butter and gently sauté the onion for a few minutes until soft.
- Add the garlic (peel and chop if you like, I just peeled and threw them in whole) and ginger, continue to cook for another minute.
- Add the chopped parsnips and squash, then cover with the stock. Put a lid on the pan and bring to a gentle simmer for 15-20 mins.
- At this point I use a potato masher to break the vegetables down which makes it easier to blend them. It’s not essential.
- Add the coconut milk and then blitz everything together with a hand blender, or else transfer everything to a blender.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste while you reheat it slightly. Enjoy.
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.