Thick, warming parsnip soup is a firm favourite in our house during the winter season. And as parsnips are a traditional veg served up with festive feasts, it only seems right to celebrate this loyal root vegetable with a ‘souped up’ 🙂 Christmas spice version.
Parsnips are a very British vegetable! Many other countries look down on them as animal feed. For example, in Italy they tend to get fed to pigs. Lucky pigs! Although maybe not that lucky, as they are these pigs are later used for parma ham……
Although pretty hardy and therefore grown in many climates, parsnips are at their best (ie: sweetest) after being exposed to frost. A very starchy vegetable, they contain sugars which are released and broken down when exposed to the cold. These sugars protect the plants cells and stop them from freezing – nature’s mechanism for aiding survival when exposed to extremes. Which is very clever – as always.
If you’ve ever grown parsnips, you’ll know they are not a fast crop; they really like to take time to grow, starting in around April once the seeds are sown directly into Spring soil. And they seem to take forever to germinate! But once they get going, there’s not much to do apart from thinning out so there’s plenty of space for them to grow big and plump. Or that’s the idea anyway!
My normal parsnip soup recipe is pretty simple with just parsnip and onion plus curry powder. With this recipe, I’ve included apple which gives the soup a slightly fruity air. And I’ve added a pinch of cloves which provides a lovely deep, warming flavour – just be very careful how much you add as it is strong! Too much and it will be clove soup ;).
To finish, I suggest you temper some cumin and mustard seeds to sprinkle on top with a dollop of soya yoghurt. Of course, feel free just to do the soup, but the garnish makes it extra special. And it is Christmas after all!
I hope you enjoy this soup – I’ll definitely be making this over the festive period as it’s part of our family tradition. Do let me know if you give it a go, and of course how you get on.
Christmas spiced parsnip soup
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 cm chunk fresh ginger grated OR
- 2 teaspoons dried ginger powder
- 550 grams parsnips peeled and diced
- 1 medium apple peeled, cored and diced
- 2 teaspoons garum masala
- pinch ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon optional
- 750 ml vegetable stock
- 200 ml creamy unsweetened oat milk or plant milk of choice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon each of cumin and mustard seeds
- 2 teaspoons Soya yoghurt
- Small handful of fresh coriander chopped
- Heat 2 tablespoons of water in the base of a large pan and sauté the onion with a pinch of salt for 5 minutes on a medium heat. Add the fresh grated ginger and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Add the chopped parsnips and apple to the pan with a little extra water. Cook for 3 minutes.
- Add the garum masala, ground ginger (if not using fresh), cloves and cinnamon (if using). Stir well to coat the parsnips and apple. Pour in the vegetable stock - just enough to cover the veggies and apple.
- Bring to the boil, then pop on the lid, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until the parsnips are soft.
- Turn off the heat and leave to cool slightly.
- Whilst the soup is cooling, tip the cumin and mustard seeds into a small pan and toast over a medium heat for 2 minutes until they start to pop. Turn off the heat and put to one side.
- Add some of the oat milk to the parsnips and blend until smooth, adding more milk as needed to get the consistency you want.
- Reheat gently, making sure it all gets piping hot again.
- Serve with a dollop of yoghurt, a sprinkle of seeds and finished with fresh chopped coriander.