Ginger spiced parsnip and apple soup

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Rain scatterguns the windows; it’s pitch dark by 5pm. The waves are a constant thunder, provoked by Storm Angus out of yesterday’s flat calm. A night like this calls for a soup like this, flickering with ginger warmth and Christmas nutmeg spice: decorate it with savoury treats and serve with hot buttered toast.

Serves 6

Ingredients
1 kilo parsnips, scrubbed and sliced
2 cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1 large onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger, or 1 teaspoon dried
2 teaspoons mild curry powder
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons turmeric
1.3L chicken or vegetable stock
200ml milk
1 tablespoon butter
salt and black pepper

To top: walnuts, parmesan, crispy bacon, parsley

Method
Melt the butter in a large saucepan; soften the onions and then add the garlic and all the spices (but not salt, do that at the end so you know how much it needs) and cook for a minute or two until it smells delightful. Tip in the parsnips and stir to coat in the spices, then add the stock and bring to the boil.

Simmer until soft, about 25 minutes. Add the apples and cook for five minutes until soft, then pour in the milk and bring back up to piping hot, but don’t let it boil.

Blend (I use a stick blender) until completely smooth; add a little more milk if it needs thinning. Generously scatter with one or – highly recommended – all of the toppings, and serve with hot buttered toast.

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