I couldn’t translate the name of this soup into Turkish even if I wanted to – the thing is that for some extraordinary reason, parsnips aren’t grown in this country so are totally unknown as far as I know. If you are living in Turkey, sorry, this recipe isn’t going to be possible for you!
Sussex proved to be fantastic: I loved everything about it from the countryside to the villages, the towns, the pubs, the charming little shops with their organic produce. You should see those farm shops! And then at the opposite end of the spectrum, there is Waitrose ….! Food in the UK is now seriously good.
I love parsnips. Their subtle sweet taste is something akin to jerusalem artichokes, I think. Different but similarly delicate and just divine! Have you tried roasted? We bought these locally from an organic shop in the village on the way to the airport.
They were encrusted in mud and I looked at them somewhat dubiously, I must confess. Organic, all right: ‘unwashed parsnips’ said the label. I had seen pristine white ones in a packet at Tesco’s earlier but refrained from buying them. Anyway, I bought these other ones and popped them into the zip pocket of my suitcase.
Back in Istanbul, we had a longstanding dinner date last night with old friends who I knew would appreciate parsnips. Last weekend, the Guardian was full of seasonal recipes and tips, including this particular soup, so I was actually all set.
But there was one thing I should have paid closer attention to and that was the adjective used to describe the addition of the ginger to the soup: ‘fiery’. And by God it was! I used the maximum recommended amount of fresh chopped ginger, and quite frankly for my taste, it was too much.
However, I was the exception: everyone else professed to love it and had seconds! But the swirl of cooling yogurt helped, and I did like the toasty flavour of those pumpkin seeds. Next time, less ginger!
- Heat the oil and butter in a saucepan over a medium-low heat and sauté the onions for about 10 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, ginger, cardamom, cumin and cayenne, and stir for a couple of minutes.
- Tip in the parsnips and stir until coated in the spices. Add the stock, season and simmer until the parsnips are very soft, about 15 minutes. Cool slightly.
- Purée in a food processor, blender or with a stick blender. Leave to cool, then freeze if desired.
- To serve, defrost soup, reheat it slowly, then add the milk, adjust the seasoning and warm through gently; if it’s a bit thick, thin with some hot water from the kettle.
- While the soup is warming, toast the almonds or pumpkin seeds in a dry frying pan until just beginning to turn golden.
- Serve the soup in warmed bowls with a trickle of cream or yogurt and the toasted almonds scattered on top.