Sunday, 6 November 2011

Random Recipes does No Croutons Required: Spiced Parsnip Soup

I've been following the

The basic idea is to choose a recipe book, turn to a page and random, and you MUST make this recipe. Not quite sure what the consequences are for cheaters, but I assume they are dire! I excitedly turned to my 'New Soup Bible' which I used in my first ever blog post over a year ago! Bless. I had my fingers crossed for a warming thick Autumnal soup when I flicked through and randomly opened it on page 62: Spiced Parsnip Soup with Naan Croutons. Jackpot! And I didn't even cheat!

I love parsnips and teaming them with my favourite herb, cumin, was really tempting! I'd probably make a parsnip soup on any old weekend without a fuss, but what a fantastic idea to also add the traditional sides and condiments of a curry. I had a lot of the ingredients to hand, so after a quick scurry to the shops for some parsnips and naan bread I was raring to go. Here's the recipe as it was in the cookbook.

Olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 small green chilli, seeded and finely chopped 
1 tbsp grated ginger
5 large parsnips, diced
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tbsp mango chutney
1.2 litres water
juice of 1 lime
salt and ground black pepper
Natural yoghurt and mango chutney, to serve
Fresh coriander to serve
For the croutons:
Olive oil
1 large naan
Sesame seeds

1. Heat the oil in a large pan and add the onion, garlic, chilli and ginger. Cook for 4-5 minutes, until the onion has softened. Add the parsnips and cook for 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle in the cumin seeds, coriander and turmeric and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
2. Add the chutney and the water. Season well and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, until the parsnips are soft.
3. Cool the soup slightly, then blend until smooth. Stir in the lime juice. (This is where I had to add some extra boiling water as the soup was far too gloopy for my taste, as can be seen in the picture)
4. For the croutons dice the naan, heat the oil in a frying pan and cook until golden all over. Remove from the heat and drain off any excess oil. Add the sesame seeds and return to the heat for 30 seconds, until the seeds are golden.
5. Ladle the soup into bowls. Add a little yogurt and top with mango chutney and naan croutons.

I even presented it all pretty while I'm entering it into a challenge (dead proud ont sly!). I did have a couple of minor disasters throughout the cooking. It was ridiculously gloopy when I blended it, (hard to avoid with parsnip), so I had to add quite a lot of boiling water to loosen it up a bit. I also forgot to add the spices at the correct time! Only realising once the soup was blended and it wasn't the wonderful deep orange colour the book had promised =( I quickly added them in and continued cooking the soup; the colour did become a lot more pleasant but not quite the wonderful Autumn leafy hue I was after.

The soup itself wasn't overly exciting but hit the spot. I went a bit mad with the cumin which although complimented the parsnips really well, did mean the soup didn't really taste of much else. However, what really made this dish was the various toppings; what a revelation! The croutons were tasty little morsels of crunch, the yoghurt added a contrasting creamy taste to the deep earthy spice of the cumin, and the mango chutney really lifted the whole thing to a new level. I'm not usually a massive fan of the stuff and rarely choose it, but its tangy flavour went really well here and I found myself adding a couple more dollops when I ran out!

I really enjoyed this challenge; having the dilemma of recipe choosing taken away from me is something I'd like to do more often and will hopefully lead to some exciting new taste experiences that I wouldn't usually do. I think I've started off very safe here but the result was an enjoyable soup that I'd probably make myself, with some finishing touches that transformed it into a meal that I'd even consider swapping my weekly (bi-weekly? tri-weekly??) curry for!


  1. Yay, more soup! Might have to give this a go, I've taken to making a big batch of healthy soup on Monday to take to work for my dinners (full marks for avoiding processed food and additives, etc, but the same dindins 5 times a week does get a bit boring!). This will be my next attempt! Got most of the ingredients in too, cos I'm making a curry this week as well :)

  2. oooh, you're really lucky with your selection, I ADORE parsnip soup. This book is genius and I know quite a few people are cooking from it this month. Your soup looks really lovely and I like your photo's too. Don't be shy in the future, join in the blogging fun!... thanks so much for taking part this month xx

  3. Hi Nikki,
    Nice to meet you. Thank you for entering your soup. It looks lush and I can imagine just how good the combination of parsnips and cumin would be :)

  4. Looks yummy, love parsnip soup!

  5. Thank you for your comments that i've only just moderated! I well didn't know these lovely nicities were waiting just a click of a tab away! Thanks for hosting this one Dom and Jac, looking forward to the next challenge =)

  6. I came over from dom's! This sounds great! I love soups, and I used to hate parsnips but have recently realised I quite like them (:

  7. I love parsnip soup, and this recipe looks delicious, but I especially love the addition of the mango chutney (I love mango chutney) – I'll definitely be trying this out soon. I think your photos are good, I'd never have guessed they were taken using a phone camera! And don't be shy about joining in with blog challenges and events and so on – I was shy when I first started, but the blogging community is super friendly and welcoming!! :)

  8. Mel - thanks for the kind words, i've followed your wonderfully well organised blog!

    Shu Han - i'm a parsnip fusspot too; i'm not keen on them toooo sickly sweet and honeyfied! i'm looking forward to reading more of your yummy looking blog posts