Spicy Parsnip and Potato Soup
This is one of the most delicious and warming winter soups I make for my family. The ingredients are basic and extremely good for you because root vegetables are high in fiber and a good source of roughage.
If you’re not sure what a parsnip is I can understand because they are not available everywhere. Here in Britain they are very common. We usually eat them roasted in the oven with potatoes when we’re cooking a Sunday roast. In Italy, on the other hand, they are almost unheard of, despite the fact that they were commonly eaten by the ancient Romans.
Sadly, I have just heard that the pigs reared for Parma ham are the only Italians who have the delight of parsnips as a regular part of their diet!
That is a shame because they have a delicious flavor, as sweet or maybe sweeter than its close relative the carrot. They were actually used as sweeteners before we got cane sugar from the Americas. It is a very healthy vegetable providing a lot of fiber as well as being rich a variety of vitamins and minerals, especially potassium.
Cumin is also a healthy ingredient and has long been used in India to help with digestion problems among others. The cumin and curry paste add a delicious spicy flavor, which work very well with the parsnip because it has a sweet base to it. In fact because parsnips are very sweet I like to use more potatoes in my soup to balance out that sweetness.
Just out of interest you can make a delicious parsnip, cumin, and lentil soup, too. Again, the more savory taste of the lentils balances the sweetness of the parsnips, but that’s for another time.
If you prefer a more sweet taste and you really love the flavour of parsnip, then use fewer potatoes. The quantities are all pretty casual really that’s another thing that makes some soups quick and easy.
- Knob of butter or coconut oil
- 1 lb of parsnips
- 1.5 lbs potatoes
- 1 medium onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1.5 liters of stock made with 2 chicken stock cubes (or vegetable cubes if preferred)
- Half a teaspoon of curry paste – start with less – you can always add more later
- Half a teaspoon of cumin
- Paprika to sprinkle on top (optional)
- Peel and chop the onion and garlic
- Put in large pot with butter or coconut oil and fry till golden brown
- Peel and dice the parsnips and potatoes. Add to the pot.
- Add the cumin and curry paste. Stir and fry for about 2 minutes
- Add the stock and season
- Bring to the boil
- Cover with a lid and reduce heat. Simmer for approx 45 minutes
- Once cooked, leave to cool for a few minutes and then blend till it’s thick and creamy
- Check seasoning. Add more curry paste if you wish
- Serve with a sprinkle of paprika on top (optional)