Christmas Recipe: Chestnut, Parsnip & Apple Soup (adapted from Gordon Ramsay's Cookalong show on BBC Lifestyle)
- 50g unsalted butter
- 2 x parsnips, medium, peeled and grated
- 2 x celery stick(s), chopped
- 1tsp curry powder, mild or medium strength
- sage, small bunch (I was unable to find sage so I omitted it)
- 1 x apple(s), cored and chopped
- 250g roasted chestnuts, shelled, skinned and roughly chopped
- vegetable stock, 800ml-1 litre, hot
- 100ml single cream
- olive oil
- sea salt
- ground black pepper
Parsnips are winter root vegetables so I didn't have too much trouble finding some. I didn't grate them but cheated and put them into my food processor. As it's a hardy root, I applied the same principle as I do for processing Blue Ginger (aka Galangal / Lengkuas) or Lemongrass (aka Serai). I cut the root down into smaller pieces before putting them through the food processor. This small step helps to cut down the processing time and also prevent the motor in your food processor from burning out.
I chopped the chestnuts, celery and apple by hand as whizzing them in the food processor might break them down too much.
The recipe calls for 50g butter. As a rule of thumb, always use unsalted butter instead of salted butter in cooking so that you can control the saltiness of the dish more easily. I like using President butter for its quality and also because there is a guide on the foil wrapper to indicate the approximate amount of butter as you cut the block in graduations of 25g.
I fried the vegetables along with the curry powder. I couldn't afford the time to stop and take photos of the frying process as the parsnips were giving out alot of moisture (thus lots of steam emitting from my pot) and since they were finely chopped, they would have burnt very easily.
Here's a picture of the apple and celery bits floating around in the soup after I had added the vegetable stock. The yellow hue is due to the butter. I didn't have time to make fresh vegetable stock, so I used stock cubes. If you are also using stock cubes, please go easy on the salt during the frying process.
Here's a picture of it after I added the single cream after removing the pan from off the heat. It looks just slightly milkier than the previous picture.
I used a Braun Multiquick Hand Blender to liquidize the soup into a smooth purée. I like using this hand blender because it allows me to do the blending in the same pot that I cooked the soup in and also it saves me the trouble of washing more utensils. Make sure that you do not overfill the pot and try to use a pot with higher sides to prevent splatter.
If you do not have a hand blender, you can use a jug blender but only fill the blender up to halfway as due to the heat of the soup, the cover might pop off once you switch it on and you could end up scalding yourself. As a precaution, always place a folded dry towel over the cover of the jug blender and hold both the cover and towel down while the blender is in use.
As I didn't have any luck finding sage, I omitted from the recipe.Thus without sage leaves to garnish my soup with, I simply added some Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Black Pepper.
I was very pleasantly surprised by the flavour of the soup. It was not as sweet as I expected it to be and the curry powder added a nice touch of spice to it. It had the distinct flavour of parsnips, the muted sweetness of apple, the warm spice factor of the curry and a touch of freshness from the celery. Very delicious indeed! Even a friend of mine who had also never had this dish felt it was surprisingly savoury, I guess I shall have to make this soup more often.
Difficulty rating: 2 out of 5 (try not to burn the parsnips).
Even if you've never cooked before, this is a recipe worth trying out.
* Want to win a souvenir apron? Keep your eyes peeled for details.
** Cost of all ingredients were borne by yours truly. :)