Root curry soup

Curry root soup

I had to scrape some old snow off my car today (I try not to rely on it too much and use public transport when I can so it’s been there a while) and it is still quite chilly here.  Our kitchen doesn’t really heat up unless the oven is on, which at least is one excuse to keep baking!  Anyway, today has been the sort of day that a warming soup is required.  Parsnips I think have a natural affinity for curry flavours, and carrots and celeriac are great partners for parsnips.  This soup goes down well with the little one as, although she doesn’t like very spicy food, she does like aromatic flavours and this isn’t too overpowering. I use medium curry powder and stir some yogurt into hers just before serving.  Cools the actual temperature and the spicy heat in one move!  Toast soldiers aren’t just for boiled eggs and babies in my opinion.  Make a big pile of buttery fingers and use them to scoop up the delicious soup.  Just right for a wintry day (when it should be Spring!)  So, shall we briefly talk about stock?  Back in the day when I knew even less than I do today, I was given the New Covent Garden Soup Company ‘Book of Soups’, which has many lovely recipes.  In there the recipe for vegetable stock requires five carrots, three onions, three leeks, three sticks of celery, eight leaves of cabbage, a whole head of lettuce, some herbs and seasonings, and produces just under three litres of stock.  I made it precisely once.  Whilst I do appreciate that you get out of such a thing what you put in, it felt like a loss to me to see so much healthy veg reduced to a sad looking jug of flavoured water.  I can get two lots of stock out of a chicken by boiling the giblets one day and roasted bones the next, having usually made two meals from the actual meat.  So when it came to vegetable stock from that day forward I could only bring myself to use a powder, and I stand by Marigold Swiss Vegetable Vegan Bouillon Powder Reduced Salt (that trips lightly off the tongue, doesn’t it!), as a truly viable alternative to the real thing.  And, these days I can’t make enough stock to keep up so I will have to use powder sometimes.  But I did have a vegetable stock epiphany, and I cannot remember who told me, but I now keep vegetable scraps.  C and I can’t get through that many vegetables despite our best efforts, so I wash our peelings, stalks and ends throughly (no one likes gritty stock) and freeze them until I have enough to make a bit pot.  Here’s a great page on what veggies to keep for stock and which to avoid.  Soups, risottos, stews, anything really that requires a bit of liquid is improved with a good stock, so happy simmering everyone.

Root curry soup

Prep time 10 minutes Cook time 30 minutes Makes 6 (adult) servings

  • 2 tbsp oil or 30g butter or dairy-free alternative
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 large parsnips, peeled and woody core removed if required, chopped into 1″ cubes
  • 1 small celeriac, peeled and chopped into 1″ cubes
  • 3 medium carrots, scrubbed and chopped into 1″ cubes
  • 1 tbsp curry powder – less or more, mild, medium or hot as is your preference!
  • 1250ml stock, vegetable or chicken
  • salt and pepper

Heat the butter or oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, and cook the onions over a low  heat for 10 minutes.  Add the other chopped vegetables and sweat over a slightly higher heat for 5 minutes.  Add the stock, stir and simmer covered for 20 minutes.  Check the veggies are soft with the tip of knife, and simmer some more if not done.  Remove from the heat and blend until smooth with either a stick blender, or a liquidizer and return to pan when done.  Check seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve in warmed bowls with toast fingers for dipping.

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