First things first: Happy New Year everyone! I hope you had a good start to the year and also hope that the rest will be better still. Though it can be really depressing. All those parties and with great food during the holidays, then…boom…everything’s gone (except the Christmas spirit of course) and everyone’s back to normal. I bet you heard or even thought the dreadful D word (yes..diet) a million times already, and it’s not three days after New Year’s Day yet.
This is a tricky one I know but we really need some heart-warming food, especially in this cold weather. And let’s face it, dieting doesn’t mean eating for two weeks and starving for the rest of the year. Well, it could be an interpretation of this to some people, but I don’t think it’s the healthiest one. (Oh, and please please please, don’t be mean to others by making them not eat too!) To be honest, after the holidays I don’t crave heavy foods, not even the sweet stuff. Also, lately I’ve had some veggies in the fridge which needed to be either used or thrown away, and you know how much I hate throwing food away if it still can be cooked. I had quite a lot of parsnips and some carrots which were waiting to be made into a nice thick gooey soup.
Mentioning carrots, a friend of mine recently asked me if this season’s pick were sweeter than usual. It’s like eating a whole packet of sweets she said, which made me think back. J made a big batch of carrot soup about a week ago in which I couldn’t help adding loads of fresh pepper. So for now I am definitely off carrots, in large quantities that is! But somehow I love parsnips. Although sweet, they have a hint of spiciness. I’ve read that parsnips are only grown in colder climates, ergo there’s no way I will find them back home, so I intend to make the most of them here. They are good for you anyway…
The following is a recipe for a parsnip soup with a twist. It’s also got some mustard in it which gives it that wintery kick and some paprika for smokiness and is food for the soul. Well that’s how I think of it. This soup is very forgiving so as long as you taste it along the way to adjust the seasoning, it will taste great. Unfortunately I have no alternatives for parsnips, but you’re invited to my place anytime for lunch. Ooops…I have to keep my word now, don’t I?! For this Parsnip, Paprika and Mustard Soup you’ll need:
- 25g butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (not extra virgin)
- 450g parsnips, chunkily diced or cubed
- 1 leek, roughly chopped
- 3 medium potatoes, quartered
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1.5 litre vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoons wholegrain or Dijon mustard, heaped
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- pepper, to taste
- In a medium sized pot heat the oil and butter, then add the parsnips, leeks and potatoes. Stir until the vegetables are coated well, keep an eye on it for around 5 minutes and add the paprika. Stir again.
- Add the stock, let it boil, then leave to simmer for around 20 minutes until the vegetables are softened. Blend the whole lot either with a hand blender, or pour it into a free-standing one to mush it up.
- Now is the time to add the mustard, sugar and pepper and taste it to get the seasoning right. You’ve got it.
Invite 4-6 people for lunch and serve immediately with some fresh crusty bread on the side.