Thursday, October 19, 2017

Parsnip & Apple Soup

I love parsnips. There I said it. Parsnips may be earthy like their more colourful relatives, carrots, but they also have a touch of finesse bordering on the elegant.

Go all Jackson Pollock with the garnishing of cream & thyme!

Our small crop was harvested after being exposed to two weeks of cold, nightly temperature to tease out their sweetness even more.


Parsnips were sowed this past March so they take time to mature. The seed needs to be very fresh so it makes sense to buy just what is required for a season's sowing.

Look at that friable soil! So glad after we moved here eight years ago I focused on 'growing' the soil and not just plants thanks to incorporation of compost & leaf mould and using cover crops

I chose Reinette Grise apples because they have smooth, full-bodied flavour when cooked.


After throwing out the umpteenth pot of fail-to-thrive Thymus vulgaris (common thyme), I planted Thymus serpyllum. It took a while to cover the ground, but now it is flourishing. It having a milder taste means I use a bit more than I did with the common variety.


Ingredients
makes 4 ample servings

  • Butter, sweet, 30 g/1 dry oz
  • Olive oil, extra virgin, 1 T
  • Onions, yellow, medium, 2, finely chopped
  • Parsnips, 600 g/1 lb 5 oz, scrubbed, chopped (remove any woody bits & peel if they are old)
  • Garlic cloves, 2, finely minced
  • Thyme, dried, 2 large pinches
  • Apples, cooking (I used reinette grise du Canada, other choices would be granny smith, golden delicious, belle de boskoop, gala, bramley), 600 g/1 lb 5 oz)
  • Stock, veggie/chicken or high quality stock cubes (I used chicken), 1 L/34 fluid oz)
  • Milk, 400 ml/13.5 fluid oz
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Garnishes: cream, splash of cognac, and fresh thyme

Though the soup tastes wonderful if made fresh, making it the day before will deepen the flavour. Gently heat the butter and oil over moderate low heat. Toss in the onions, parsnips, and thyme. Stir occasionally and saute for around fifteen minutes. The veggies need to be softened, translucent, and fragrant. Add the apples and garlic and cook for another minute or two.


Add the liquid stock or if using stock cubes, add the same amount of water as you would the stock along with the stock cubes (my brand called specified two cubes for a litre of water). Cover and simmer for around thirty minutes or until the veggies are very soft.


Puree either with a stick mixer or in a blender. Thin with milk (you may need more than the recommended amount especially if you let the soup sit in the fridge overnight). Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with squiggles of cream and fresh thyme. This luscious soup for some reason tasted cheesy, mostly Parmesan, a bit of Brie, which made it so goooooood. (It could have been due to the hefty amount of turmeric in the stock cubes I used.) The balance between savoury and sweet was perfect. Splash some cognac in your serving if you wish.


Cream and cognac made it almost too gorgeous. A garnish of Parma ham would work a treat too. If a less rich soup would be preferred, then use more stock and less milk. Omit the cream and cognac. It still will taste wonderful.


Now that the parsnips have been harvested, the only veggies remaining in the potager are the sweet red peppers which are snugly cocooned in their tent of triple-thickness horticultural fleece so as to protect them from the cool night temps.

Our three cats adore playing hide and seek with each other inside the tent

À la prochaine!