Small wonder: Roast parsnip soup

My recent austerity drive has made me look at my fridge and larder more economically, but also more creatively. Not that I was extravagant before, but I just never thought about what I put in the basket much except what took my fancy. These days I buy enough perishables to consume in a week, no more. Vegetables now have to be used up rather than left to rot in the fridge.

Today, all I had left in the fridge were two parsnips. I got home from group meditation tonight slightly peckish. Wondered what I could do with the parsnips, since they are normally roasted and eaten as a side dish. I ended up making a simple roast parsnip soup. Chop parsnips, fry lightly in olive oil, add garlic, herbs and a spoonful of honey, roast in oven. Then puree in blender, add stock to thin, heat through, cream optional. Sprinkle with some previously made fried breadcrumbs with garlic and herbs, optional chilli flakes and flaxseed (what Jamie Oliver calls ‘poor man’s Parmesan’) and you get a small ladleful of heaven.

In case you’re wondering what the big deal is about parsnips, I come from a country that doesn’t know what they are, let alone roast or eat them, since frost is necessary to developing their flavour. But even after coming to the UK, I never appreciated them until I cooked them myself. The stuff they serve you from university kitchens tastes like … not much really, which isn’t surprising since most of it comes out of a packet and has all the flavour boiled out of them. I just don’t get boiled vegetables, not when they can be roasted, stir-fried, steamed, made into soups and salads. Could one get more unmindful than boiling all the flavour (and nutrition) out of a lovely vegetable that nature took all the time and effort to produce? (Okay, okay I’m not going to spoil the lovely vibe of this post with a rant).

I bow to the humble parsnip.

P.S. For more about parsnips, see the CDC website.

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