For such a simple Root Vegetable Soup I’m thrilled at its taste – sensational! I’ve never bothered to cook a soup with root veggies as its main ingredient before, always using them in stocks. As for a typically British curried parsnip soup – ooooh, ouch. I’m out on that one (not that I’ve ever tasted it). Maybe, just maybe it’s divine. Huh, I can’t imagine it. This is rustic, almost farmhouse – although, the rate I’m going it’ll be a cow shed next for me,me. Yet, this is healthy. Hearty, too. Yes, I’m back to using a little organic butter and cream in some of my recipes. It’s that time of year to do so. Baggy clothing an’ all. I far prefer the idea of serving this like the photos: individual servings of carrot, parsnip and potato mash. Problem is I’m not posh enough these days to own a bain-marie. Still, if the soup base is hot enough, and the soup plates are as well, the mashed veg taste fine if served just warm. I’m so impressed with this that over the weekend I’m going to do a non vegetarian version using chicken leg quarters for the soup base. With lots of juniper berries in the stock and shredded chicken in the soup, I’m betting this will be an absolute treat. Will update to include both versions. In the meantime I’d suggest using a little grated sharp, mature Cheddar cheese within the potato mash – only for the vegetarian version.
Update: As I could only buy a large swede last week it just wasn’t suitable to pan-fry as a steak as the flesh is far too dense and fibrous. Besides, it was a brute to prep. Today, I managed to buy a small one and its quality is so much better that one twice the size – and perfect pan-fried. If you can only buy large I’d definitely recommend boiling the swede along with the potatoes, carrots and parsnips within the soup base. Then prep as either a separate mash or combine with the carrots.
Root Vegetable Soup, with carrot, parsnip and potato mash
PREP: about 30 mins ~ COOK: 30 mins for stock & up to 30 mins for the soup ~ READY in: 1 hour +
FOR THE STOCK:
- 150g (5.29 oz) x carrots, peeled, trimmed and roughly chopped
- 1 x green part of leek, trimmed and thoroughly washed
- 3 x celery stalks, washed, trimmed and roughly chopped
- 150g (5.29 oz) x onions, peeled, sliced in half, trimmed and sliced in half again
- 2 x garlic cloves, root end cut off
- 2 x dried bay leaves, ripped
- 1 – 1½ x organic very low salt vegetable stock cube(s), less if using regular
- 500ml (1.056 US pt lqd) x water
FOR THE SOUP:
- rapeseed or olive oil
- 100g (3.52 oz) x leek, white and pale green part only, sliced crossways into discs, washed thoroughly
- 1 x small to medium swede/rutabaga, peeled, sliced crossways into 2 steaks about 1.4cm (1/2 inch) in thickness (if large has to be used then peel, roughly chop and boil for mash)
- 200g (7.05 oz) x potatoes, scrubbed, any knobbly bits removed and discarded, and chopped roughly the same size as the carrots and parsnips
- 100g (3.52 oz) x carrots, peeled, trimmed and roughly chopped, more to personal taste
- 200g (7.05 oz) x parsnips, peeled, trimmed and roughly chopped
- a little butter, for 2 of the mash, carrots and potatoes
- a little single/light cream for 2 of the mash, parsnips and potatoes
- seasoning, both sea salt and black peppercorns
- mature/sharp Cheddar cheese, grated into the potato mash – optional
Measurements within brackets above are approximate only.
FOR THE STOCK:
- Put all ingredients into a large heavy-based saucepan on electric heat No 4 (out of 6) with a lid. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to No 2 and simmer for at least 30 minutes. Take off heat and allow to cool slightly before straining into a suitable container. Rinse out saucepan, then strain the stock through a fine wire metal sieve. Retain one of the bay leaves and the 2 garlic cloves, removing their shells, and add to the stock.
FOR THE SOUP:
- In the meantime prep the leek. Put a heavy-based pan/skillet on heat No 2. Drizzle in some oil and add the leeks. Plonk on a lid and allow at least 15 minutes cooking time, initially. Take off lid, stir through, adding a little water if they look too dry, and continue to cook until starting to caramelise, stirring through occasionally.
- (Only do this instruction if using small or medium swede) Put a heavy-based saucepan on heat No 2. When the pan is hot enough add a little oil. Place the swede/rutabaga steaks inside and clamp on a lid. Leave for 15 minutes, remove lid and flip them over. Continue to cook, without the lid, until a fork pierces them easily. Remove them, and when cool enough to do so slice them into batons. Return them to the pan about 10 minutes before serving the soup to get the sliced edge nicely golden.
- If using a large swede prep as for the potatoes below and cook within the soup base.
- Prep the potatoes and get them into the stock as they can discolour. Put on heat No 4. Add the carrots and parsnips as they are prepared. Put on a lid and bring to a boil, reducing heat to No 1 or 2 to simmer the veg until easily pierced with a fork. The parsnips will probably cook the quickest. When soft enough remove and add each vegetable to a separate and suitable bowl.
- If you’re lucky enough to own a bain-marie then this is the time to use it. Get it piping hot to reheat the mash listed below. If not it’s possible to use small serving dishes (like in the photos), place them in a large saucepan with about 2.5cm (1 inch) of cold water, cover with a lid and put on heat No 3. Bring to boiling point and reduce heat to No 1. Check occasionally to make sure the water doesn’t boil dry. If a small knob of butter is placed on top of each mash when it melts the veg will be piping hot. Remember only to use suitable bowls that won’t crack when used in boiling water.
- For the parsnips: mash them and add a little single/light cream and season with freshly ground sea salt and black pepper.
- For the carrots: mash them and add a small knob of butter and season with salt and pepper.
- For the potatoes: mash them and add a knob of butter, a little cream and season with salt and pepper.
- Add the leeks to the soup base and keep on low heat until needed. Mash the garlic cloves into the base as well. Remove the bay leaf.
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