After an unseasonably mild winter so far it looks as if we’re due a cold snap this weekend and the selfish side of me is rejoicing in being able to justify lighting the wood burner every day and making (even more) large pans of roasted vegetables and soups.
I don’t think there’s a better soup than this for so little effort leading to so much impact – a lot of bang for your buck as the Americans would say. And not only do I know exactly what goes into my soups (all fresh ingredients, no additives, preservatives or miscellaneous chemicals) but they’re astonishingly cheaper to make than to buy, especially when you’re using up the last of the veg before the weekly shop that might otherwise go to waste.
Anyway, sermon over, on to the recipe. The most important thing about the following recipe is that, as is often the case here at One Pot Cook, they’re rough guidelines. Only have three parsnips? No problem, add another carrot! Don’t have any large potatoes but do have a small bag of new potatoes at the back of the fridge? Go for it! Got a swede or a turnip in your CSA box and want to use it up? Perfect!
Suggested ingredients [serves four hungry people]
- 4 large parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped into chunks
- 4 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped into chunks
- 2 large potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped into chunks
- 2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1 leek, sliced and chunked (you can use a red or yellow onion instead or leave out altogether)
- A good glug (about 2 tablespoons) olive oil
- 2.5 pints (1.5 litre) (6 cups) of chicken or vegetable stock – made with a stock cube is fine
- 2 heaped teaspoons of smoked garam masala (ordinary garam masala is also fine)
- 1 heaped teaspoon cumin seeds and 1 heaped teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 heaped teaspoon turmeric
- 1 heaped teaspon your favourite spice, e.g. mustard seeds, fenugreek, etc.
- Optional extra: 1 or 2 tablespoons of single cream
- Optional extra: 2 slices of black pudding, fried and crumbled on top to serve)
- Pre-heat the oven to 220° (425°/gas mark 7).
- Prepare all of the vegetables, quickly rinse the chopped leek and place them in a large roasting pan.
- Add the spices and oil, shake the pan to ensure that all the vegetables are coated then reduce the oven to 200° (400°/gas mark 6) and cook for about 1.5 hours or until they’re starting to go a lovely crispy brown.
- When the vegetables come out of the oven, start grilling the black pudding (if you’re going to add it as a topping) – it usually needs 4-5 minutes each side.
- Transfer the roasted veg to a large saucepan, add the stock and with a stick blender purée the vegetables. (If you don’t use a stick blender, transfer the vegetables and stock to the processor and blend them there.)
- Bring the soup back to a gentle boil, adding the cream if you’re using it.
- Serve immediately with the crispy black pudding topping and a large chunk of crusty bread or a garlic and coriander naan. Yum.
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- Since black pudding is now being hailed as the latest “superfood” for 2016 alongside kale and blueberries, I bought a couple of slices of black pudding at the butchers this morning and found that it was a very tasty addition.
- I made this for our supper this evening so was able to test the with and without cream versions side by side but I’m afraid the jury’s out – both were delicious, with the cream version slightly milder than the without. It’s a good trick to keep up your sleeve for unexpected guests – not only does the cream make the soup go further, it can be used for the less adventurous amongst us…
- Double up and freeze leftovers in single portions for a lovely lunchtime treat (it works really well in thermos flasks).