Roasted parsnip and parmesan soup 

This recipe very nearly didn’t reach its proper soupy destiny for one exceedingly good reason: the crunchy bits. 

Let me explain. Any time Mr B. makes roast potatoes (and, for some reason, he always gets this task), he chucks in a couple of tiddlers because he knows I love the crunchy bits best of all and will jump around excitedly like a small child at the prospect. It’s the little things in life that make me happy. 

So when I pulled some roasted parsnips with parmesan out of the oven yesterday with the intention of whizzing them into soup, you can imagine what happened next. I mean, take a look:

 Parsnips roasted with parmesan

First one piece of crunchy golden parsnip disappeared down my greedy gullet… and then another… I tried to pull myself together a bit – they’d taste just as savoury and moreish with the addition of a bit of stock and the judicious application of a hand-held blender, I reasoned to my unreasonable self. Okay, fine, but I’ll just have one more piece… 

This all leads to a sort of ‘two in one’ recipe post (bargain!). If you’re looking for an interesting side dish for Sunday lunch, just follow the first part of the recipe. If you’d like a fantastic starter, or just a mug of intensely savoury and satisfying soup to come home to after a bracing weekend walk in the cold (ah, good intentions) then see it through to the end 🙂

Roasted parsnip and Parmesan soup from The Covent Garden Soup Company’s Book of Soups 

Serves 4 to 6 

You’ll need: 

450g parsnips, cut into lengths
50g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
15g butter
A drop more olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon plain flour
2 ¼ pints/1.35 litres veggie or light chicken stock
4 tablespoons double cream 

1. Preheat the oven to 2ooC/400F/gas mark 6. 

2. Simmer the parsnips in plenty of salted water for 3 minutes. Drain well and toss in half the Parmesan cheese.  

3. While the parsnips are simmering, put the olive oil in a roasting tin and heat in the oven for 3 to 4 minutes. Then arrange the parsnips in the roasting tin, add the butter and bake for around 45 minutes, basting frequently. 

4. In a large soup pot, warm up some more olive oil and cook the onion gently until soft, without colouring.  

5. Stir in the flour and cook for one minute. Add the stock, stirring constantly and bring to the boil. Add the parsnips. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. 

6. Allow the soup to cool a little and then pureé it together with the remaining Parmesan cheese in a liquidiser/or in the pot with a hand-blender. 

7. Stir in the cream, taste for seasoning, reheat and serve. 

Cook’s notes 

I usually forget to do the bit with the flour. Never missed it, so if you’re gluten-free then don’t worry about this step. 

I like my soup a little thicker (like stand-your-spoon-upright thick), so I never add as much liquid as suggested in the recipe above. 

The cream went right out the window in a token gesture towards saving my figure. Milk works just fine instead.

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