Seasonal produce - parsnips and parsnip soup

Parsnips are fabulous winter root vegetables that can be harvested up until January, once the foliage dies back.  But their flavour is improved if you wait until after the first frost, which converts the starch into sugars giving them a sweeter flavour.

Who doesn’t love roast parsnips with their roast?  But curried parsnip soup has to be up there too – Indian spices seem to go especially well with parsnips.

Start by warming 1 tbsp oil in a pan over a low heat and add 1 finely-chopped onion and three to four finely chopped parsnips, 1 carrot and 1 celery stalk.  Season with salt and pepper and cover and gently cook for 15 mins until the vegetables are soft.  Peel and crush three garlic cloves and stir into the veg adding 1 chilli, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp ground coriander, ½ tsp ground turmeric and 2cm of fresh ginger, finely chopped.  (Or use a couple of teaspoons of garam masala instead.)  Cook and stir for 1 min before adding 850ml of hot vegetable stock.  You could also add half a cup of coconut milk to make it creamier.

Bring the soup to the boil simmering for 10 minutes until the vegetables are very soft.  Pour the soup into a blender and blitz until smooth (or use a hand-held blender).  Add salt and pepper if needed.  Ladle into bowls and garnish with chopped fresh coriander or parsnip crisps.