I used to believe that parsnips, along with turkey, cranberries and chocolate oranges, were only available for two weeks in December. They are one of my favourite vegetables, but I would eat them once a year and then believe that they were off the market until the next bout of festivities. What other explanation could there be for the fact that everyone in my family loves parnsips but we never ate them except with Christmas dinner?
The happy day that I discovered this was not true was also the day of one of my two culinary memories of my father: I don’t know what inspired us, but we made some veggie burgers and he suggested parsnip chips to accompany them. I didn’t know parsnips were even available, nevermind suitable to be served in chip form! I wish it were the kind of rose-tinted memory you see on tv, but I don’t even remember the cooking process, just agreeing on the parsnip chips and eating the goods afterwards. (I wish this memory were as clear as the other one – my dad serving beans on toast every Saturday teatime, while the football results came in on 5Live. Not so inspirational!)
Even if I can’t remember my father cooking much, I can certainly remember him eating, and this is a soup I think he would have been happy to share with me. It’s sweet from the parsnips and coconut, and spicy from the curry paste. Absolutely delicious!
Curried Parsnip Soup
serves 6, from Holiday by Bill Granger
1 tbsp oil
2 onions, chopped
3 tbsp korma paste
1.25kg parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
1.5 litres vegetable stock
150ml coconut milk, and a little extra to serve
2 tbsp chopped coriander
1. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 6 minutes until softened.
2. Add the curry paste and parnsips and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
3. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, until the parsnips are tender. Leave to cool slightly.
4. Blend the soup until smooth. This can be done in batches.
5. Return to the pan and add the coconut milk and seasoning. Stir over a low heat until warmed through. Serve drizzled with a little extra coconut milk and garnished with a few coriander leaves.