Sunday 20 January 2013

Parsnip and Apple Soup (gluten free) - with Paul Hollywood's Cheddar and Apple bread (and a bit about Parsnips)

On a recent visit to Auntie Mow’s she said she was going to make some parsnip and apple soup. ‘Aha’ I thought, I needed some new soup-recipe ideas and this was just the ticket.  I had harvested more parsnips than I had needed over Christmas and there was still a surplus in the veg. store.  So I decided to create my own recipe.

Parsnip and apple soup with wholemeal bread

Parsnips do keep well for ages after they have been dug from the cold, winter earth: (parsnips are best eaten after a hard frost). They can be quite dangerous though.  The idea of a dangerous parsnip may not have crossed your mind; it isn’t the fleshy, edible root which is threatening, it’s the leaves, which have been removed when you buy them rather than growing your own.

Parsnips are a member of the Apiaceae family and the leaves contain something called furanocoumarin - a chemical which can cause a burn on bare skin (best to cover-up when harvesting). At worst, if the plant juices come into contact with skin, it can cause redness, burns, tingling and blisters 24 to 48 hours afterwards. Sweat also speeds up the absorption of the chemical as does sunlight. It’s best to wash the area thoroughly and if it’s really bad, see a doctor.

So, that’s the scary bit, which won’t affect anyone who doesn’t ‘grow-their-own’; here’s the interesting bit:

The name parsnip comes from old English pasnepe  whose ending was changed to -nip by analogy with turnip because it was assumed to be a kind of turnip. It is a close relative of parsley and, of course, the carrot. However, they are richer in vitamins and minerals than  carrots, especially potassium with 600 mg per 100 g. The parsnip is also a good source of fibre. 100 gms of parsnip contains 75 calories.

And now for the enjoyable bit:

Parsnip and Apple Soup

You will need:

Part 1:
2 medium onions, chopped quite finely.
1 – 2 oz butta
1 small garlic clove, crushed (this is optional)
1 stick of celery, de-stringed and finely chopped.

Part 2:
1 lb parsnips – chopped
4 oz potatoes – chopped
8 oz apples – cooking apples are best, especially Bramley, but any kind will do – the sharper the better.
2 pints stock – vegetable or chicken
1 dessertspoon of mixed herbs – fresh if poss, but dried work well too.

Part 3
½ pint milk
2 teaspoons Garam Masala
Salt and pepper

Here’s what to do:

Part 1: melt the butta in a thick-bottomed pan – a large one, and add the onion, garlic (if you are using it) and celery.  Cook on a low heat until soft and slightly golden.

Add the  ingredients for Part 2 and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Liquidise and add the ingredients for Part 3

Keep tasting and add more salt and/or pepper until you are happy with the flavour.  You can add more milk if it is too thick for you.

Serve with fresh bread – Paul Hollywood’s Cheddar and Apple Bread is lovely.

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