But sometimes you don’t want to mess around with spices, so this quick soup uses a curry paste or curry powder – which ever one you have on hand. Just be careful to test the heat levels and adjust the amount that you add to the soup.
You can roast the parsnips before making the soup if you like. It will add a depth of Wintery flavour to the soup. But if you are just home from a long day at work, it is perfectly fine to omit roasting.
I add something tart to soups – vinegar, bitters, tamarind water made from fresh tamarinds, or similar. Just a small amount enlivens soups which become very earthy due to their sustained simmering. Balancing the flavours with something tart or acid adds some magic to the soup.
Creamy Parsnip Soup with Curry Spices
3 Tblspn olive oil
1 Tblspn (or to taste) curry powder or curry paste (be careful, as they vary in their heat level – go cautiously at first and add more with the stock until the heat level is perfect – you are aiming for a spicy warmth rather than a chilli heat)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 leek, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
0.5 tspn turmeric powder
1 bay leaf
750g parsnips, peeled and sliced
4 cups vegetable stock or water
a few drops of bitters or 1 small tspn white vinegar
sea salt and white pepper
In a large pot over a medium heat, add the olive oil and curry powder or paste, stir, and then add the onion and leek. Saute gently until soft but not coloured.
Add the parsnips, garlic, bay leaf and tomato and sweat them (with the lid on) until the parsnips are tender. Pour in the stock with the turmeric powder and vinegar or bitters, and simmer for 5 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper, and then carefully blend to a puree in a blender in two batches. Add the cream as you blend.
Garnish with herbs and a sprinkle of cinnamon (optional). Serve hot or cold. The soup can be frozen.
recipe notes and alternatives
Replace one parsnip with a carrot.
Roast the parsnips and the onions. In this case, the first steps can be omitted and the vegetables can be added directly to the stock.
If I am using water rather than stock, I like to add 4 or 5 juniper berries, 2 allspice berries, 5 black peppercorns and another bayleaf. It adds depth of flavour.