Recipes, Recipes - Starters

Parsnip Soups

There are two main ways to make a soup featuring parsnips.  The quickest and most straight-forward generally involves frying onion, then adding parsnips and simmering the vegetables and spices in a stock.    The other involves roasting the parsnips first to bring out their flavour, and then adding them to stock to finish off the cooking process. 

Below is a collection of parsnip soup recipes – ring the changes with different additions such as garlic, root ginger, spices such as coriander, cumin and cardamom, or combine with other vegetables such as potato or celery.   Dairy ingredients like milk, cream or cheese make for a more substantial soup for cold days, or cook them with tart Bramley apples and spices for a soup with a difference.

All of the recipes suggest blending the soup when all the ingredients are softened through cooking.  This can be done in a table-top blender/liquidiser (or food mixer), or you can put a stick blender straight into the pan – saves time and washing up!    No need to blitz to a smooth puree if you like to keep some texture in your soups.

If you have a glut of parsnips, make the most of them by making a batch of your favourite soup and freeze it for up to 3 months.

Parsnip Soup with ginger

About this recipe:   This is the basic recipe which can be adapted – for example, leave out the ginger and try some other flavour.   Use chicken stock instead of vegetable stock, and try different types of oils instead of butter.

Serves 4        Preparation: 20 mins    Cook: 40 mins   Ready in about an hour

Ingredients

Small knob of butter or oil of your choice

1 small onion, sliced            

1- 2 garlic cloves, sliced                              

Small piece fresh root ginger, peeled & sliced  

4 large parsnips, peeled & chopped          

900 ml vegetable stock   

1 teaspoon olive oil

Method

  1. Heat the butter or oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook for a few mins to soften. Throw in the garlic and ginger, cook for 1 min more, then add the parsnips and spices. Cook for a few mins until fragrant.
  2. Pour over the stock and gently simmer for 30 mins.
  3. Blitz the soup until completely smooth in a blender or with a stick blender. Serve in bowls, drizzled with olive oil.  Serve with nice crusty bread.

Cream of Parsnip Soup

About this recipe:   This is a dairy version of the one above.   It can also be varied – use milk instead of cream, leave out the ginger and try some other flavour.   Use chicken stock instead of vegetable stock, and try different types of oils instead of butter

Serves 4        Preparation: 25 mins  Cook: 40 mins   Ready in just over an hour

Ingredients

Small knob of butter                                    

1 small onion, sliced            

1-2 garlic cloves, sliced                              

Small piece fresh root ginger, peeled & sliced  

4 large parsnips, peeled & chopped          

800 ml vegetable stock   

100ml double cream                                     

1 teaspoon olive oil

Method

  • Heat the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook for a few mins to soften. Throw in the garlic and ginger, cook for 1 min more, then add the parsnips and spices. Cook for a few mins until fragrant.
  • Pour over the stock and gently simmer for 30 mins. Add most of the cream, bring to the boil, then turn off the heat.
  • Blitz the soup until completely smooth in a blender or with a stick blender. Serve in bowls, drizzled with remaining cream and the olive oil.  Serve with nice crusty bread.

Parsnip soup with parsley cream

About this recipe:   This is a bit more complicated than the previous recipes, perhaps more suitable for a special occasion,  but again it can be varied and the dairy ingredients reduced for a less rich everyday soup.

Serves 6            Preparation: 40 mins    Cook: 45 mins   Ready in 1 hour 5 mins

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil                                               

1 onion, finely chopped

700g parsnips, cut into chunks                  

400ml milk

400ml vegetable stock                                

3 bay leaves

For the parsley puree & cream

2 x 80g packs curly parsley                         

150ml double cream

150ml whipping cream, whipped to soft peaks

To serve:                

1 parsnip, cut into small cubes                  

1 tbsp olive oil

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the onion until soft but not coloured. Stir in the parsnips, bay leaves, milk and stock, bring to the boil and simmer gently until the parsnip is very soft.
  2. Remove the bay leaves and drain off, but reserve, the liquid. Whizz the parsnips in a blender, adding a little of the cooking liquid at a time until smooth. Keep adding liquid until you reach a lovely soup consistency that’s not too thick.
  1. For the parsley purée and cream, blanch the parsley in boiling salted water for 30 secs, then refresh in ice water – this keeps the green colour. Repeat this twice. Bring the double cream to the boil. Squeeze out any water from the parsley, then whizz in a clean blender, slowly adding the hot cream until it’s as smooth as you can get it. Cool. Fold a little of the parsley purée through the whipped cream until nice and green. Season and chill. Keep the remaining purée for serving.
  2. For the garnish, blanch the parsnip cubes in boiling water for 2 mins, then drain. Heat the olive oil in a pan, and fry the cubes until golden. Keep warm.
  3. To serve, reheat the parsnip soup and season to taste. Place a little of the parsley purée into each of 6 shallow soup bowls, followed by the soup, a spoonful of the parsley whipped cream and some fried parsnip cubes.

Spicy parsnip soup

About this recipe:   This is for people who like a bit more intense flavour in their soup.  It could take a longer to sort out all the spice ingredients, but if you cook a lot with spices, you’ll be able to judge quantities without measuring precisely.  You can also swap oil for butter and leave out the cream and replace with stock if you don’t want to include dairy ingredients

Serves 6    Preparation: 30 mins   Cook: 40 mins  Ready in 1 hour 15 mins

Ingredients

Small knob of butter  (or oil)                                        

1onion, sliced2 garlic cloves, sliced                                            

Small piece fresh root ginger, peeled and sliced

6 large parsnips, peeled and chopped              

1 teaspoon cumin seed

1 tsp coriander seed                                            

2 cardamom pods

1 tbsp garam masala                                            

1.2 litre vegetable stock          

150ml double cream

To serve

1 tsp olive oil                                                       

1 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds

1 red chilli, deseeded and sliced                      

coriander leaves

Method

  1. Heat the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook for a few mins to soften. Throw in the garlic and ginger, cook for 1 min more, then add the parsnips and spices. Cook for a few mins until fragrant. Pour over the stock and gently simmer for 30 mins. Add most of the cream, bring to the boil, then turn off the heat.
  2. Blitz the soup until completely smooth in a blender or with a stick blender. Serve in bowls, drizzled with remaining cream (if used) and the olive oil, scattered with cumin seeds, sliced chilli and coriander leaves.

Curried Parsnip Soup

About this recipe: This recipe is from my friend Jane Mitchell, who is an amazing and creative cook who likes trying out new dishes using what she’s grown and what’s in her cupboard.  She is no longer able to manage her allotment plot, but keeps cooking delicious meals for family and friends who come to see her. 

Serves 4     Preparation: 15 mins     Cook: 40 mins      Ready in 1 hour

Ingredients

50 g butter                                                      

1-2 teaspoons curry powder (to taste)

2 large onions                                                 

750 g parsnips, peeled, cored, chopped small

1 pint (570 ml) chicken stock                      

Salt and pepper

½ pint (285 ml) milk                                       

¼ pint (140 ml) single cream

To serve:  1 red apple diced and tossed in lemon juice (optional) or croutons if preferred

Method

  1. Melt butter, stir in curry powder and cook 2 minutes
  2. Add onions and parsnips and cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently
  3. Add stock, salt and pepper.  Bring to boil and simmer 30 minutes or until soft. 
  4. Cool a little, liquidise in a blender (or in the pan with a hand stick blender). 
  5. Return soup to pan, and add milk and cream.
  6. Check seasoning and serve. 
  7. Put some of the garnish in each soup bowl.   

Variation:  This recipe can be adapted to use with other vegetables when there’s a glut – for example cauliflower, courgette.

Spicy Parsnip and Apple Soup

About this recipe: This is best with Bramley apples which are tart.  A dessert apple gives it a sweeter taste.    Using a pinch of spices gives it a distinct but not overly spicy taste

Serves 6                      Preparation: 10 mins     Cook: 40 mins      Ready in 1 hour

Ingredients

60 g butter or oil                                             

½  large onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped (optional)               

2 sticks celery                                                  

6 large parsnips, chopped                             

Good pinch garam masala

Good pinch ground cumin                              

1 large Bramley apple, chopped

120 ml double cream (optional)                     

1.2 litres vegetable stock

Juice of ½ lemon

Method

  1. Heat the butter or oil in a large pan and sweat the onion and celery for 10 minutes.  Add the garlic, if used, and cook for 2 minutes more
  2. Add the spices to the pan, together with the apple and parsnips.  Cook for 5 minutes
  3. Pour in the vegetable stock and simmer until all the vegetables are soft – about 20 minutes
  4. Add the cream (if used) and lemon juice to the soup, season and blend before serving.

Spiced parsnip & ham soup

About this recipe:  This is a good one for using roast left-overs – potatoes and parsnips.  For a non-dairy version, just leave out the cream and add more stock.    For a hotter version, use more curry powder.  For a meat-free version, leave out the ham and add something else which needs finishing up!

Serves 4           Preparation: 5 mins    Cook: 20 mins        Ready in 30 mins

Ingredients   

1 tbsp olive oil                                                      

1 tbsp mild curry powder

250g cold roast potatoes and parsnips            

1litre chicken or turkey stock

100ml double cream, plus extra to drizzle       

small handful shredded ham

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the curry powder for 1 min until fragrant. Stir in the veg, cover with three-quarters of the stock and simmer for 5-10 mins.
  2. Blend the soup until very smooth with a hand blender or food processor, adding more stock if the soup is too thick.
  3. Stir in the cream and ham, then return to the pan and gently reheat.
  4. Season and serve with a drizzle of cream on top.

Spicy roasted parsnip soup

About this recipe:  This ramps up the flavour by roasting the parsnips with spices before blending and cooking with stock.

Serves 4      Preparation: 15 mins     Cook: 35 mins      Ready in around an hour

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil                                                 

1 tsp coriander seeds

1 tsp cumin seed, plus extra to garnish     

½ tsp ground turmeric

½ tsp mustard seeds                                      

1 large onion, cut into 8 chunks

2 garlic cloves                                                 

675g parsnips, diced

2 plum tomatoes, quartered                         

1.2 litres vegetable stock

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Method

  1. Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the oil and spices. Add the vegetables and mix well. Spread over a heavy baking sheet, then roast for 30 mins until tender.
  3. Spoon into a food processor or liquidiser with half the stock and process until smooth.  Pour into a pan with the remaining stock.  Or, for a more textured soup, use a hand stick blender in the pan and add the remaining stock.
  4. Season, then heat until barely simmering.
  5. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Garnish with cumin seeds.

Roasted parsnip and parmesan soup

About this recipe:  It’s a 3 stage cooking operation, so more complicated, but not many ingredients so no more time-consuming than some of the other recipes and the combination of parsnips and parmesan cheese is delicious. 

Serves 6             Ready in  1 hour 15 mins                   

Ingredients

450 g parsnips, cut into lengths                         

50g grated Parmesan cheese   

2 tblspns olive oil                                                

15g butter                                              

1 medium onion, chopped                                 

1 tblspn flour

1.35 litres chicken stock                                     

salt and pepper                          

4 tblspns double cream

Method

  1. Simmer the parsnips in plenty of salted water for 3 mins.  Drain well and toss in half the Parmesan. 
  2. Put the oil in a roasting tin and heat in the oven for 3-4mins.  Arrange the parsnips in the tin, add the butter and bake for 45 mins basting frequently.
  3. Drain the excess oil into a large saucepan and cook the onion gently  until soft, without colouring.  Stir in the flour and cook for 1 min.  Add the stock, stirring constantly, and bring to the boil.  Add the parsnips.  Simmer, covered, for 10 mins.
  4. Puree the soup with the remaining cheese in a blender or use a stick blender.  Stir in the cream, taste for seasoning and reheat. 
  5. Serve garnished with black pepper.