The French call the parsnip (le panais) one of the “forgotten” vegetables. Sure enough, as I was picking out parsnips at the market recently, I was bowled over when an elderly French lady actually asked little old me what I do with them.
Amazed is an understatement really – it’s the equivalent of someone French coming up to you and asking where to find a certain street. An instant warm glow heats up inside and suddenly you feel part of it all. Although, perhaps the poor soul had just lost her memory. In any case, nothing gives me the greatest pleasure to share this healthy, velvety soup.
Another ‘forgotten’ vegetable is the round carrot. It was popular in Paris in the 19th Century and a delight to growers, as they don’t need great soil due to their small roots. In French, they’re referred to as Parisian Carrots – is that not so chic? These dumpy veggies are now ‘reminding’ us at the market that they’re so much sweeter than normal carrots – and one of my favourite ways to serve them is simply throw them in a roasting tin with a dash of sugar, butter, oil and thyme and roast them for 45 minutes.
As the parsnips are naturally creamy, they thicken this soup perfectly. When serving this to guests in autumn or winter, it’s always a delight to see their faces light up as you tell them there’s not a drop of cream in it (although adding a touch of sherry is cheeky.)
Parsnip, Round Carrot & Coriander Soup
Wildly adapted from Spiced Cream Parsnip Soup from Scottish Traditional Recipes by Carol Wilson & Christopher Trotter.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 35 minutes
2 onions, chopped
500g parsnips, peeled & chopped
300g round carrots, peeled & chopped
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp dry sherry
1 litre chicken stock
bunch of fresh coriander, chopped
- Melt the butter in a pressure cooker, add the onions, carrots and parsnips and sweat them gently for about 10 minutes without allowing them to colour. Add the spices.
- Pour in the sherry and place the lid on, cooking on a medium heat for 10 minutes until the parsnips and carrots have softened.
- Add the stock and season to taste. Bring to the boil then simmer on the pressure setting for about 15 minutes.
- Remove from the heat then blitz using a hand blender.
Serve with freshly chopped coriander.
Needing an extra wow factor? Serve a mini soup and a mini Tikka Mac’Sala curry macaron (recipe on p.100 of the book) on the side will guarantee the oh-là-là effect to kick off a special meal. What’s more, it’s gluten free – so replace the bread and butter with mini savoury macarons!
For more on forgotten vegetables, please take take a look at one of my first posts before it was a blog: