With pan-fried cubed swede (rutabaga or yellow turnip)
At the outset there are going to be two versions of this soup within this post – eventually, as I haven’t cooked the other one as yet. The reason is simple, I didn’t care for the aftertaste of the allspice used in version one that I’m going with right now. That aftertaste is all important when developing any recipe that I do. It’s not necessarily going to be a problem for others as we all have differing taste buds and likes/dislikes. Which is why I’m going with this first version as this tasted pretty incredible – until the dreaded aftertaste set in. With certain vegetables that were new for me to try recently I had a problem not only with their texture – again of importance – but their aftertaste as well. Those veg were celeriac (celery root) and little white turnips – shant be cooking with either again. The allspice I happened to really like with my lamb kebabs that I made a couple of weeks ago. I’m wondering if the yoghurt used had some sort of effect that neutralized the overall flavour of the allspice itself. I’m now wondering if a vinegar would have a similar effect, too. Especially for salad dressings. I just don’t know about the science behind food and what happens when a certain technique is utilised or when ingredients do this or that to each other. What I do know about are the flavours that I end up with! Anyway, in the photos is a delicious bread bought locally with the rather strange name of Oktoberfest ¼ Boule. It seems to be a mix of wholemeal and rye. Toasted dry with double Gloucester cheese with chives and onions it really is a good pairing with this soup. The cheese, BTW, was awarded a Gold by Which magazine here in the UK – no mean feat. As for the bread, there are no ingredients listed. Is it OK for stores here to not list ingredients if made fresh within the store itself? Who knew. What I hope I do know is that I do have good taste (or at least I used to have, apparently). Shame, then, about my appearance right now as I look like I’ve been trailed from a car crash!
Serves 2 – 3
- olive oil
- 300g (10.58 oz) x parsnips weight after they’re peeled and trimmed, then cut crossways into half, then sliced lengthways into chunks (the fatter end can be cut into 3 or 4 chunks)
- ground allspice, about 1 pinch to begin with + extra to personal taste
- 1 x onion, peeled, trimmed and cut into quarters
- 1 x broccoli stalk, trimmed and sliced lengthways into 2 pieces
- 3 x garlic cloves, peeled, trimmed and kept whole
- 1 x dried bay leaf, split
- 500ml (1.05 US pt lqd) x water
- 1 x organic very low salt vegetable stock cube
- single/light cream, to serve
- 1 x small swede/rutabaga/yellow turnip, peeled, sliced crossways into a disc about 1cm (½ in) in thickness, the disc trimmed into a square and then cut into small cubes – try and buy only small or medium swede to cook this way as a large one won’t be tender enough, as it’ll be too fibrous and only suitable for boiling
Measurements within brackets above are approximate only.
- For this particular soup I decided not to partially roast the parsnips. Instead I plonked a heavy-based saucepan on electric heat No 4 (out of 6) to begin with. Allow enough time for the pan to get hot before adding oil. When parsnips are ready toss them in a bowl with a little oil and a pinch of allspice, getting them fairly evenly coated. Then add a glug of oil to the pan and place the parsnips in without overcrowding them. As they only need to be partially cooked get them to the stage where they’re beginning to turn golden on all sides. Reduce heat if any signs of scorching happens. Take off heat and set aside.
- In the meantime prepare the onion and broccoli stalk and get those in a large heavy-based saucepan with a lid and pour in the water, add the bay leaf and stock cube. Put on heat No 4 and bring to a boil. When parsnips are golden remove them with a slotted spoon and add them to the stock. Bring back to a boil, reduce heat to No 2 and simmer until the parsnips are nicely soft.
- Whilst the soup is simmering put a heavy-based pan with lid on heat No 2 for the swede (rutabaga/yellow turnip). Add a little oil and spoon in the cubes of swede. Put the lid on for the first 10 minutes of cooking, checking them for any signs of scorching. Turn each piece over to try and get them fairly evenly golden on all sides. Keep the lid off after about 15 minutes. When they’re nicely golden and soft when pierced with a fork take off heat, add the lid and keep them warm.
- When the parsnips are ready take off heat and allow to cool slightly before blending or liquidising the soup. Remove the bay leaf pieces, onion and broccoli stalk, retaining only the bay leaf. When soup is cool enough pour into a blender and blitz until absolutely smooth. Rinse out the saucepan, add the bay leaf, pour in the soup and taste for any needed extra allspice. At this stage I added a small pinch, literally dipping the tip of a teaspoon into the jar of ground allspice to grab just a pinch. Add that to the soup and stir through. Allow several minutes for that to infuse before tasting again and adding more.
- Serve with the cubed swede and single/light cream with seasonings of both sea salt and black peppercorns.
All photographs within Feed the piglet:
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