Sweetly does it
I didn’t know what a parsnip was until I was 18. Really. My mother refused to have them in the house. Apparently many, many years ago she came down with food poisoning, and the first thing she ate on “recovering” was a big plate of parsnips. Of course it turned out the bug hadn’t completely gone and she’s never eaten a parsnip since. As a result it was many years until I discovered these honey treats and they are still something of a novelty to me today. The thing I can’t get over is how very sweet they are. Vegetables should be savory but these, you could stick them in a pudding and no-one would be any the wiser. The ingredients for this soup almost read like a pudding, with parsnips and pears, but the contrast of onions, and garlic and a little bit of heat and some savouriness from the stock balance it out nicely. It is a sweet soup, indeed, but not sickly. Gently sweet. I served this very simply with some fresh bread and butter but I suspect this would pair beautifully with a tangy cheese, perhaps a goat’s cheese, or cheddar with lots of onion pickle.
Parsnip and pear soup
Adapted from Dinner with Julie
The original recipe had a potato in the soup to thicken it up a bit, but i tend to find soups with potatoes in can go a bit gummy when you blend them if you’re not careful so I took it, adding in garlic to replace it. A good substitution if ever there was one!
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 ripe pears, not peeled but cored and chopped
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1lb parsnips, scraped and chopped
1 cup (250ml) chicken stock
Splash of milk
1. Drizzle a little oil into a large saucepan and cook the chopped onion until translucent. Add the minced garlic cloves, garam masala, cayenne, nutmeg and pears and cook for about 2 minutes, until strongly fragrant and the pears are nice and soft.
2. Add all the parsnips and the stock and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper, and cook over a medium heat until the parsnips are soft, about 20-30 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and blend the soup with an immersion blender until only small chunks remain. Taste again and add more seasoning if necessary. Finish with a splash of milk stirred into the soup and serve with bread and cheese.