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Spicy parsnip soup (v)

spicy parsnip soup

To make this soup, I roasted a chicken with coriander and lemon, saved a little chicken meat for a garnish and made the stock out of the carcass. You don't necessarily need to do that, but a good quality - preferably homemade - stock is important. This soup is quite spicy; if you prefer a soup with less (or more) of a chilli kick, halve (or double) the amount of harissa. You can, of course, omit the chicken and bacon garnish and make it with a vegetable stock for a vegetarian version.


Serves 4 as a starter


6 medium-sized parsnips

1 onion

3 cloves of garlic

2 tsps coriander seed, toasted and crushed with a pestle and mortar

2 tsps harissa (I used dried, but paste is fine)

600ml chicken stock

a pinch of smoked paprika

olive oil

a little cream


To garnish

a little cooked chicken

2 rashers of bacon, cooked til crisp and broken into pieces

8 large croutons

a few coriander leaves


Pre heat the oven to 220°C.


Peel and chop the parsnips into chunks. Steam for about ten minutes until tender. Tip them into a baking tin and add the coriander seed, harissa, smoked paprika and a generous glug of olive oil. Toss lightly, so the parsnips are coated in the oil and spices, then roast for about 30 minutes until the parsnips are coloured in places and deeply fragrant.


Meanwhile, chop the onions and garlic and fry lightly in a little olive oil until soft and golden. Add the roasted parsnips, stit to combine and add the stock. Bring to the boil, simmer for a few minutes, then blend until smooth. (For a more sophisticated soup, you can pass the mixture through a sieve, but in the winter I usually prefer a thicker, more rustic texture.)


Return the blended soup to the pan and bring to serving temperature. Season and stir in a little cream directly before serving. Ladle into bowls and float two croutons on each, topped with chicken, shards of crispy bacon and coriander leaves.


Photo by Kelsie Mortimer

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