This year has been a complete disaster in the garden, after a tiny crop of early radishes we have harvested close to nothing from our tiny veg patch. A combination of peculiar seasonal weather and voracious insects have left slim pickings indeed. So when hubby required a leaf or two of parsley to complete the evening meal it was off to the market we had to go. I don’t know if it’s the same in the UK, but here in France it’s almost impossible to buy a small amount of parsley, and the bunch we were left with after the required leaves had been plundered was … rather large.
Now if you are a regular follower of this blog you will already know that I loathe throwing anything away, but what to do with a big bunch of parsley on a chilly autumnal weekend ? I went through, and rejected, a few ideas involving breads and pestos and plumped for one of my favourite standbys; soup.
But parsley on it’s own would be far too strong a flavour and it needed something that would compliment the slight sweetness of the herb, but not overpower it. Tricky.
My musings were put to a decisive end at the supermarket when we all got very excited to see that they had on sale the seldom seen pleasure of ‘Panais Anglais’. Now whilst that may sound rather exotic and strange it is quite simply the humble parsnip.
Parsnips are not a usual feature on the supermarket shelves in this part of France, (they are traditionally grown as donkey fodder rather than for human consumption!), but as the influx of ex-pats to the region grows ever larger so has the demand for this ‘strange’ delicacy. The suffix of ‘Anglais’ has been added not as point of origin, but as an indication of who will most likely be buying them.
So there was my answer, all I had to do now was make the soup.
3 tbsp olive oil
100g of leek, roughly chopped
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
50g of Parsley, with stems removed ( reserve a few leaves for garnish)
200g of chopped Parsnip
1 apple, diced
1 l of vegetable stock
Warm the oil in a large pan the add the chopped onion, leek and garlic. Stir well then cover and sweat for a few minutes making sure the vegetables don’t start to brown too much.
Add the parsley and stir until the leaves have wilted, then add the chopped parsnip and apple. Cover and sweat for a few more minutes then add 1 litre of vegetable stock. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 15- 20 minutes.
When the parsnip has softened, blend the soup till smooth and serve immediately with a swirl of creme fraiche or cream and garnish with the remaining parsley leaves.
This is a rich, thick, slightly sweet soup which, ( in my opinion at least), is perfect for a rainy autumnal evening warmer. And its a fabulous colour too 🙂
*No it’s not a spelling mistake, it’s a clever play on words.