LAWRENCE MURPHY: Frosts make your parsnips sweeter

Parsnip soup
Parsnip soup
Rachel Roddy

Food & Drink: Rome-based foodie explores Sicily in her new cookbook

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On an early morning cycle ride it was beautiful to see the countryside cloaked in white frost, as if a huge white silk tablecloth had been dropped from the sky.

On these winter rides, I find myself thinking about something delicious to eat on my return: a steaming bowl of soup, a casserole or a thick toasted cheese sandwich to take away the chill from my bones and stop the gurgling of an empty belly.

The frost not only made for a memorable ride, but has also helped with the flavour of our local parsnips. The lower temperature turns some of the starch into sugar, which makes them taste sweeter.

Parsnips are full of vitamins and minerals as well as containing antioxidants, which are said to reduce muscle inflammation.

Parsnip soup


Ingredients

6 parsnips peeled and chopped

1 onion finely chopped

1 leek finely chopped

2 sticks celery chopped

4 cloves garlic finely chopped

Small knob of ginger peeled and chopped

1 teaspoon cumin seed

Half teaspoon fennel seed

1 dried bird’ s eye chilli

Pinch saffron

500ml milk

250ml cream

500ml vegetable stock

Butter

Salt and pepper


Method

1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add the onion, leek, celery and garlic. Cook for four minutes without colouring.

2. Add the parsnips,ginger, cumin, fennel and chilli and cook for another three minutes.

3. Add the stock, milk and saffron and bring to the boil.

4. Simmer for 15 minutes and check the parsnips are soft.

5. Add the cream and season to taste.

6. Liquidise and check the seasoning. If you like a fine-textured soup, pass through a fine sieve.

• Lawrence Murphy’s restaurant is Fat Olives at Emsworth fatolives.co.uk. Call 01243 377914