Parsnip Soup!

Today's soup was a complete transgression from the soothing broths that we love. Today's soup was big, bold and punchy, a real Wintery soup (although it was actually quite mild). It was also fun to make and was in the bowls and our mouths with pleasing rapidity.
I was using up some rubbery parsnips that I had just bought, like, 4 days ago!! I mean, come on supermarkets, what is going on with the rubbery parsnips??

<Scientific Bit>
Ahh, the parsnip! (or Pastinaca Sativa if you will), looks sort of like an anemic carrot but tastes quite, quite different. Earthier, sweeter and more herbacious. You may have had them roasted for Sunday Lunch, maybe with charred spindly bits. But it's also great in a soup, and even better as a vegetable chip. And then...then there's the health benefits! Did you know that it is high in potassium and antioxidants? Or that in the Middle Ages people made sweet pies from them, using it as a sweetener. And did you know that Parsnips have a higher glycaemic index than chocolate which makes them the perfect slow burning energy food. And they have no calories either, virtually. Unless, ahem, deep fried. 

Again with the blathering, I hear you cry!  Bu-ut, I thought it was the blathering that you came here for? It’s not? Oh. Ok.
Well the soup was Curried Parsnip with Parsnip Crisps. It is cooked in much the same way as Potato Soup and Jerusalem Artichoke Soup, which is to say that the vegetable in question is sweated down with some onion, stock and then puree'd in the blender.
The main difference between Potato Soup and this soup is the intense flavour of curry and lemon juice that punctuates the sweet Parsnip. It is completely delicious, very warming (the heat that penetrates through the soup is startling) and great with the Parsnip Chips - another victory against my deep fat frying fear. These crisp beauties are a revelation.

2 Parsnips to the weight of 380g when topped and tailed
1 Large Onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 Clove Garlic, finely chopped
Peel of half a small lemon, reserve the juice for later
1/2 Tablespoon Curry Powder
10g Vegan Butter
1 Litre Hot Vegetable Stock

Add the butter to the pan and gently fry off the chopped onions and garlic until softened.
Add the lemon peel and cook for a 2 minutes more.
Stir in the curry powder and cook for a minute, until the powder is absorbed into the oniony/lemony mixture.
Now half and chop the parsnips into large dice. Add them to the pan and stir gently. Cover and cook for 5 minutes on a low heat.
Stir, replace lid and cook for 5 minutes more.
Pour over the stock, replace lid and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the parsnips are tender.
Blend, then taste for lemon juice (which is essential as it brings out the flavour of the curry powder, no more than half a lemon should be necessary) and seasoning.
Serve with some vegan Sour Cream stirred through and top with the fried Parsnip Chips.
To Make The Parsnip Chips:
Peel the parsnip. You can now proceed two ways. Using a vegetable peeler, peel off strips of parsnip so you will have crisp, sweet ribbons or carefully cut into rings so they look like more traditional crips (potato chips). These will take longer to cook.
Heat some vegetable oil in a saucepan until a sample parsnip chip sizzles but not frantically so, in the oil. They will take between 1 minute and 2 minutes to cook, depending on thickness.
Drain on kitchen roll whereupon they will crisp up.
I don't think that they require any salt as I love their sweetness but this is your personal choice.

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