You can never have enough soup recipes, especially in the winter when seasonal root vegetables are the perfect warming and nourishing foods. This lovely parsnip, roasted garlic and apple soup has plenty of seasonality, healthiness and flavour. Parsnips have a warm earthiness, apples add a fresh sweet tang whereas the roasted garlic adds a bit of smoky depth. Yum!
1 garlic head
2 small leeks or 1 medium (chopped small)
2 celery sticks (chopped small)
1 medium carrot (chopped small)
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil or 60 g of organic butter or ghee (for extra richness)
2 small sweet apples, cut into small pieces
1 cup of dry white wine or vermouth (optional)
600-700 g parsnips, peeled and cut into small pieces
1-1.5 lt (or more depending on desired thickness) of vegetable stock. Note: if you don’t have any homemade or good quality store bought to hand, you can make it simply by heating some water with a good quality organic, no yeast and low salt vegetarian bouillon cube/powder – the best I’ve found in the UK is Steenbergs Organic Vegetable Bouillon (you can find it here).
1-2 large potato, peeled and cut into small pieces (optional) – this adds some mildness and creaminess in case you don’t want to use dairy.
2 bay leaves
several fresh tarragon leaves or some chives (optional)
sheep or goat’s milk yogurt to serve (optional) – if you want to add creaminess, instead of using cow’s milk based cream or butter, try using a little bit of sheep or goat’s milk yogurt mixed in with some fresh tarragon or chives
salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 200°C
- Cut the top off the whole head of garlic, drizzle the body with some olive oil, wrap it in parchment paper (healthier than aluminium foil) and roast for about 30 minutes until soft. Scoop out the garlic cloves from their skins and set aside.
- In a large saucepan or pot, combine the olive oil (or butter), leeks, celery and carrot over medium heat. Mix well and cover allowing ingredients to sweat for about 5-6 minutes at low heat. Add apples, potato (optional), bay leaves, salt and pepper, then cover again and allow to sweat another 3-4 minutes. Increase the heat to high, add the wine/vermouth and allow it to cook out for a minute.
- Add the chopped parsnips and roasted garlic and mix. Pour in the stock and mix well. Cover and allow it to come to a boil, then reduce to medium-low heat and simmer for another 20 minutes until parsnip pieces are soft and break apart easily with a fork.
- Remove the bay leaves, add the fresh tarragon or chives and use a stick blender or transfer to a blender to blend until smooth. If the soup is too thick you can return it to the pot, add water and allow it to simmer a few minutes before serving. Add any further salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve soup with a few drops of olive oil, and if desired some more chopped up tarragon or chives; or for more creaminess a bit of the whipped up sheep or goat’s milk yogurt!