Finally, for this week, one of my favourite soups at this time of year, a spicy, warming bowl of Curried Parsnip Soup. A 70’s dinner party starter classic for those who were foody, in the know and well-read enough to own Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book, such as my mother. It seemed very modern at the time but it has stood the test of time and I have tweaked it just a little, removing the dated additions of cream and flour but to bring it bounding into the 21st century, I have added coconut milk and fresh coriander, probably scarcely available in those days.
Finally, I know it is more trendy to make up your own Marsalas now a days, but quite frankly when I am pushed for time, which is most of the time, I opt for a readymade blend. The trick is to buy little, often and if need be discard old spices which no longer pack a punch. Go for a good one. I used Dalesford Organic Powder which was packed with flavour, but pretty hot, so mind how you go.
Curried Parsnip Soup
A good glug of olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
450g parsnips, peeled and cubed
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 tin coconut milk
1 bunch fresh coriander, washed and chopped, stalks too
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
In a large saucepan over medium heat add the olive oil and fry the onion in butter until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the parsnips, a good pinch of salt and some pepper and continue cooking for about another 20 minutes, stirring often to avoid catching. Add a little more oil if necessary. You want to cook the parsnip as long as possible to release their natural sugars and begin to caramelise. When you can break up the parsnips with a wooden spoon, add the garlic and curry powder and fry for a couple of minutes to release the flavours. Cover with plenty of water and bring to a gentle boil. Cook for about 10 minutes. Finally remove from the heat. add the whole bunch of coriander and puree with a liquidiser or hand blender. Stir in the coconut milk and heat through. Do not boil.Season with salt and pepper to taste.