Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Spicy Parsnip & Tomato Soup

Well spring is here, I guess; but it's still soup weather, that's for sure.

This one uses our own dried tomatoes with someone else's nice fat parsnips (I think we have some, but we would have to squelch through quite the swamp to look for them). Onion, garlic and chile flavours take the parsnips in a direction they don't often go in - at least not around here - but it all works very well. As ever, be prepared to adjust the seasoning quantities to your own taste, and to allow for the fact that different chile sauces can be... quite different.

If you can't get dried tomatoes, use some canned crushed tomatoes instead. It will increase the final amount of soup slightly, but not exactly a problem.

4 servings
1 hour - 30 minutes prep time

Parsnip & Tomato Soup

500 grams (1 pound; 4 large) parsnips
1 large onion
4 to 6 cloves of garlic
1 tablespon mild vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cumin seed, ground
1 tablespoon sweet Hungarian Paprika
1 teaspoon salt (if using unsalted chicken stock)
4 cups (1 litre; 1 quart) chicken stock
1/2 cup dried tomatoes
OR 2 cups crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon sugar
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon chile-garlic sauce

Peel the parsnips and cut them into 1/4" or so slices. Peel and chop the onion. Peel, trim, and slice the garlic. 

Heat the oil in a large skillet along with about 1/2 cup of water. Add the parsnip slices and cook, turning regularly, until the water has evaporated and the parsnips are beginning to brown. Add the chopped onion, and continue cooking and stirring until the onion has softened and is slightly browned as well. Mix in the garlic slices, the ground cumin seeds, and the paprika, and cook for another minute or so, until the garlic too has softened, and the spices are well blended in.

At this point, you can add the chicken stock and tomatoes to the skillet if it is large enough, or transfer the vegetables to a large soup pot with the chicken stock and tomatoes if it isn't. Bring the mixture to a simmer and simmer until the tomatoes are tender, or about 30 minutes. Test the broth and add the salt if it is needed. Stir occasionally.

Purée the soup in a blender, and season with the sugar, pepper, and chile garlic sauce; adjust any other seasonings as seems necessary. Reheat the soup to serve. 

Last year at this time I made Lentils with Rhubarb - things were definitely a little further along! - and Arugula Pesto.

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