Parsnip Soup with Curry Spices
(recipe, Deborah Madison)
Warm curry spices balance the apple-sweet flavor of parsnip, a delicious winter vegetable that is often overlooked. Serve the soup by itself or with a few spoonfuls of cooked rice added to each bowl.
- The parings and fibrous inner cores of the parsnips (from Soup, below)
- 1½ cups leek greens, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 celery stalks with some leaves, diced
- 5 whole branches cilantro
- 1 oz. ginger root, peeled and sliced (optional)
- ½ tsp. salt
- 7 cups cold water
- 3 to 4 parsnips, about 7 inches long
- 4 Tbsp. clarified butter (ghee)
- 1 medium yellow onion, cut into ½-inch squares
- 1 Tbsp. curry powder
- 4 Tbsp. cilantro leaves, chopped
- 2 to 3 leeks, white parts only (8 ounces), chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1 tsp. salt
- 5 to 6 cups stock (see Stock, above)
- 1 cup light cream
- Whole cilantro leaves, for garnish
- 3 radishes, very thinly sliced, for garnish
- Wash, peel, chop, and dice all the vegetables called for in both the stock and the soup. For the parsnips, quarter them lengthwise and cut out most of their fibrous inner cores.
- Put all the stock ingredients together in a stockpot and slowly bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Strain immediately. There should be 5 to 6 cups of stock.
- Heat the clarified butter in a soup pot and add the onion. Cook it over medium heat, stirring frequently, until it turns a rich golden color, about 15 minutes. Stir in the curry powder and half the chopped cilantro and cook for 1 minute. Add the parsnips, leeks, carrots, celery, salt, and stock. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover, and cook until the vegetables are soft.
- Cool the soup briefly, then pass it through a food mill, blender, or immersion blender on low speed to leave a little texture and flecks of color. Return the soup to the pot (if you used the mill or conventional blender), stir in the cream, and taste for salt.
- Serve the soup garnished with the remaining chopped cilantro, a few whole leaves of cilantro, and a cluster of thinly sliced radishes in each bowl.
This soup is usually served hot, but it also makes a good cold soup, perhaps for an especially warm day in early spring.