Abject failure! That’s what it’s been. A weekend where no pan-frying was to take place. That only lasted until lunchtime yesterday. In preparation for this task I’d spotted a really nice post for a vegetable soup with parsnip dumplings by daryouchka on her blog Tortore. Inspired, I did my usual of going off in my head and formulated how I was going to make the soup. Then, invariably I write lists of suitable ingredients in my large notebook that’s always to my side when I’m indoors. All that’s left to do is to shop for any needed ingredients, cook the following day and write down the weights and measurements used. Fine. In that case, why did I opt for diced carrots and white turnip – the latter I’d never tasted before – when I neither liked their texture nor flavour. Carrots for me are preferable eaten raw with hummus. Or mashed with parsnips, a little butter and freshly ground black pepper, a side dish I had on Christmas Day. As a predominant flavour they just don’t work for me. As for the turnip, its flavour is similar to swede or yellow turnip/ruttabaga with a hint of radish – the latter I don’t care for. As there was leftover leek that came to the rescue.
Which had to be pan-fried as it’s the only way I like them. So, if you’re going to fail then do it with gusto! Instead of a planned salad I went with a thin omelette for sups. To make matters even worse I floured leftover dumplings and pan-fried those as well. There we go, Johnny. Yayha! Which is exactly why I’ve used the adjective abject. As for the fritters, they were supposed to be dumplings which is something I don’t think I’ve ever had before. Unfortunately, as I really don’t like the flavour of flour, and as I tasted one before adding the Grana Padano cheese which helped to obscure it, I wasn’t overly keen on them. Especially as I don’t have a ricer to gain the proper texture needed. However, pan-fried they tasted great. Crispy on their outside and moreishly moist within. As for the allspice…it’s mightily pungent. A pinch is quite enough. Isn’t it funny how differing tastes can alter a recipe considerably (not that mine is any better or worse than others out there). One of the reasons why I love blogging so much. If you’re celebrating New Years Eve or Homanany do have a safe one!
Vegetable Soup with Parsnip Fritters, leeks and marrowfat peas
- 100g x dried marrowfat peas (or dried green split peas), soaked overnight
For the stock:
- 200g (7.05 oz) x carrots, peeled, trimmed and cut into chunks
- 2 x garlic cloves, root end cut off and peeled
- 2 x celery stalks, washed, trimmed and cut into 3 or 4 pieces
- 200g (7.05 oz) x onions, peeled, trimmed, cut in half then half again
- 1 x dried bay leaf, broken in half
- 1 x level teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 x teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 120g (4.23 oz) x broccoli stem or stalk, trimmed and rinsed
- 100g (3.52 oz) x green part leek, trimmed and thoroughly rinsed
- 500ml (1.05 US pt lqd) x water (plus extra if needed)
- 1 x organic very low salt vegetable stock cube
For the fritters:
- 200g (7.05 oz) x potatoes, scrubbed
- 200g (7.05 oz) x parsnips, peeled, trimmed, and cut into chunks
- 1 x medium garlic clove, root end cut off and peeled
- 1 x medium free range (cage free) egg, lightly whisked
- 1 x tablespoon ground almonds
- about 10 grinds x black pepper
- pinch x allspice (I literally only used what was on the tip of a teaspoon)
- about 100 fine grates x Grana Padano cheese or Parmesan (the grater I use is small), more to personal taste
- 20g (0.70 oz) x self-raising flour (all purpose with
- plain flour for coating
For the soup:
- olive oil
- 200g (7.05 oz) x leeks, white and pale green only, trimmed, cut crossways into discs and thoroughly rinsed
- fresh parsley, to serve
Measurements within brackets above are approximate only.
For the soup:
- After soaking the peas rinse well with cold water. Add them to a large saucepan and cover with plenty of cold water. Put on electric heat No 4 (out of 6) with a lid, bring to a boil, reduce heat to No 2 and simmer until cooked. There are usually empty shells by the time they’re cooked through. Drain and set aside.
- For the stock simply add all ingredients to a large heavy-based saucepan with a lid and put on heat No 4 and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to No 2 and simmer for 30 minutes. Allow to cool before removing the celery, garlic and bay leaf, setting those aside. When cool enough strain through a metal colander into a suitable bowl, mash the remaining vegetables with a fork to extract even more nutrients and flavour. Strain through a fine wire metal sieve into a measuring jug and add a little more water to bring the amount up to 500ml, if necessary. Pour stock into a blender or liquidiser, add the celery and garlic (both rinsed off any thyme) and blend until smooth. Pour back into the rinsed out saucepan, again through a fine wire metal sieve and using the back of a soup ladle rub the stock through (or use a wooden spoon) discarding any fibre that’s left in the sieve.
- Meanwhile, pan-fry the leeks in a little olive oil over heat No 2 until they soften and start to get a little sticky and gooey, reducing heat if necessary and adding a splash or two of water to prevent them from drying out. Take off heat and set aside.
- When the soup is needed simply add the marrowfat peas, the leeks and bay leaf to the stock and put on lowish heat until hot enough to serve. Add the other ingredients, excepting the plain flour (all purpose), and mix thoroughly. Do not over work the dough. Mine was more wet than dry.
- Put a large saucepan on heat No 4 and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to No 2 and allow to simmer only for the dumplings to cook. I’m guessing if the water was at a rolling broil the dumplings could disintegrate. Dip a dessertspoon into the water, then into the mixture. Allow that to slip off into the water. Repeat this process but do not overcrowd the pan. When the float to the surface after about 20 – 30 seconds remove with a slotted spoon and put on a plate. Set aside.
- Put a heavy-based pan or skillet on heat No 3. When hot add the oil prior to the next instruction.
- When needed for the soup flour a clean surface with lots of plain flour, carefully lift the delicate dumplings into the flour one at a time. Using a fork shift the flour unto their tops and sides before flipping over. Carefully lift them with a fish slice and place into the preheated pan with sufficient oil to cover its base. Do not overcrowd the pan. Allow about 4 – 5 minutes each side before turning them. At this stage do press on them slightly to flatten to an equal thickness and, using a fork shape them as best as possible. They should be nicely golden on both sides before serving.
For the fritters:
- Add the whole potatoes and the garlic to a pan with lots of lightly salted cold water. Put on heat No 4 with a lid and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to No 2 and simmer until they’re easily pierced with a fork. Using a slotted spoon remove them and set aside. Add the parsnips, cover with a lid and simmer those until they are soft. Drain well and set aside. I’m purposely not giving times as they will vary widely with differing sizes of veg used.
- When potatoes are cool enough remove their skins, cutting out any blemishes. Add them to a large suitable container with the garlic and parsnips. Mash with a fork or masher (or put through a ricer) until absolutely smooth.
All photographs within (Todas las fotografías dentro de) Feed the Piglet:
All rights reserved (© Todos los derechos reservados) – Copyright © Johnny H Hepburn