I was inspired to try my hand at this soup by a visit to a local café yesterday. I was reading the Christmas menu that I had unfortunately missed, but on it was this soup and I knew I had to give it a go. We have some parsnips left in the garden and my husband has complained that I haven’t been using them enough so I hacked my way through the frosty soil to get at them.
I have no idea whether it tastes like the soup served at the local café but this is delicious and a very comforting dish and you can taste all three of the main elements quite distinctly, although I may use a little less apple next time I make it as my version was a little too apple-y. I have adjusted the recipe below accordingly so I hope yours won’t be.
1 large parsnip (about 300g), peeled and chopped into chunks
1 small Bramley apple (or half a large apple), peeled, cored and chopped into chunks
1 onion, diced
1 small potato, peeled and cut into chunks
100g roasted chestnuts, plus a few extra for slicing to serve on top of the soup (I use the vacuum packed variety for ease)
20g butter and a drop of olive oil
570 ml (1 pint) chicken or vegetable stock
1 tbsp cumin seed
salt & pepper to taste
Melt the butter with the drop of olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat and add the onion and cook for a few minutes, being careful not to allow the onion to brown. Add the parsnip, potato and apple and cook for a few minutes more. Add the cumin seeds and stir to combine and continue to cook for a few minutes. Season with a little salt. Add the chestnuts and the stock and bring to a simmer and cover the pan with a lid or foil. Cook over a gentle heat for 20 minutes until the vegetables are tender. If you are using an Aga, place the pan in the simmering oven for this amount of time. Check the seasoning and adjust to taste with salt and pepper.
Blend the soup either with a hand blender or in a blender or processor until smooth. Serve in warmed bowls, sprinkled with thinly sliced roasted chestnuts.