Parsnip Soup, with allspice and pan-fried cubed swede/rutabaga

Parsnip Soup, with pan-fried cubed swede/rutabaga or yellow turnip

At the outset there are going to be two versions of this Parsnip 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, within the photo is a delicious bread bought locally with the rather strange name of Oktoberfest 1/4 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 okay 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!

Parsnip Soup, with allspice and pan-fried cubed swede/rutabaga


  • 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 (1/2 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.


Allowing enough time to get the parsnip batons nicely golden.

All photographs within (Todas las fotografías dentro de) Feed the Piglet:
All rights reserved (© Todos los derechos reservados) – Copyright © Johnny H Hepburn


  1. Parsnip is a natural antibiotic, soup of which is best for cold weather. It is delicious and ‘it’s good for you’! I am salivating with each ‘soup’ post of yours. Hmmm it is time for me to make some soup!


    • – Didn’t realise that about parsnips being a natural antibiotic. It’s funny, I tend to go with the ol’ gardener’s quote of eating parsnips only after the first frosts of the year. I never eat them outside of late autumn and winter. An’ believe me, it’s winter again this weekend!
      – Looking forward to your soups, if and when you post!


  2. Gorgeous photo! I urge you to continue to experiment with turnips and celeriac. Both need to be cooked until soft to break down the slight bitterness, they also need a little salt, and in the case of celeriac, some acid such as lemon to balance flavour on the palate. Celeriac puree with a little cream is divine, textural problems eliminated! Allspice berries are best freshly cracked. They add “pop” to sweetness, perhaps they were just an inappropriate choice for your soup, but why it’s a great match with lamb!


    • – Possibly next year! I usually never give up on trying new recipes. I did cook the celeriac as a gratin, and those slices had been placed into a bath of acidulated water but I still didn’t like the aftertaste.
      – I can’t buy berries here. And was lucky to find ground. Yes, really liked the lamb kebabs I made recently.
      – Thanks for your comment!


    • – As I’ve just commented to Fae, I never eat them before the first frost of the year. And never during spring and summer. It’s perhaps an ol’ gardener’s quote, yet I think they always taste better.
      – As for that double Gloucester…


  3. Sounds and looks good! I like the requisite cup of tea in the pics 🙂 Somehow – even though I love a cup of tea in any season or weather – whenever I use a hot drink as a prop in blog pics, I always end up using a cup of coffee instead of tea.


    • Isn’t it funny that I do use tea and coffee (the latter with cream and light brown sugar here) as props quite a lot, yet I never drink anything whilst eating. Water afterwards, perhaps. And I’m not overly keen on drinking any type of alcohol neither. Far prefer drinks separate.


  4. I have not prepared too much with parsnips and this looks delicious. I love the ingredients of broccoli included in the soup. Sounds so flavorful! I am loving the Gloucester cheese with chives and onions!! Thousand times yummy !!


    • It’s such a good cheese with this soup. Actually, I could eat it straight from the pack as is! Pleased to say I’ve just found a fabulous vintage Cheddar only yesterday. I’d never noticed it before, and can’t quite believe how good the quality is. Almost dribbling at the thought of tonight’s sups!


  5. Sadly I ‘m all out of parsnips now, otherwise I would be making this tasty soup, given the cold and nasty turn the weather has taken. Hope you can find a way to manage your celeriac uncertainty, it also makes the most tremendous soup. Thanks, Tracey


    • – Hah, I tried the celeriac in a soup as well. Same thing. Will hopefully get to grips with cooking it one day!
      – Yes, I’m hoping to make the second version this week as the weather is misery, to say the least. With freshly grated nutmeg, one of my favourites, next time around.


  6. Oh, bread toasted with double gloucester and then parnsips; it would go great together. This is killing me. Just back from the UK and am ALREADY missing the cheeses. I bought a stash of Butler’s Secret and Warwickshire Truckle for snacks and nearly ate myself sick…..


    • I’ve never heard of either of those! Have to admit that a very beautiful Norwegian flatmate of mine, years ago, brought back a cheese that tastes of caramel. Regardless of Nadja telling me not to eat too much (as it is sickly if you over-indulge) I forged ahead. Like you I definitely ate myself nauseous.


    • This one I’m going to make using nutmeg and cayenne instead. Hopefully this week! It’s still cold here so parsnips are still on the menu. Had some today with a new recipe and those, pan-fried, were the stars of the plate. Well, those and the gravy!


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