A cheap and quick starter wasn't intentional last night, it just kind of happened. We had four guests (well, five, if you also count my friends' 6-month old daughter Matilda) over for dinner on Saturday night, eating smoked salmon & dill tartlets for starters, beetroot & blue cheese risotto for main course & chocolate souffles for afters. These all required attention and some last-minute TLC. On Sunday we had some guests over again, but this time we couldn't afford any hectic last-minute running-around. We visited my parents in the afternoon, didn't get back until late and there was just an hour to prepare a dinner in the evening.
We needed something quick and preferably something that could be prepared ahead. K, the pastry chef of the house, made some panna cottas in the morning (plus the guests brought along a mascarpone & cherry cheesecake!). I quickly decided to make Rachel Allen's Moroccan Chicken Tajine as the main course, but couldn't really make up my mind about the starter. Until I remembered those three chunky parsnips that I had bought before (gasp!) Christmas but never got around to making anything with them.
A cheap & simple curried parsnip soup was the resulting starter. Quickly made in the late morning and simply re-heated for a few minutes later. The guests arrived in the midst of a minor snow blizzard, so this heart-warming soup was spot on.
If you cannot find parsnips, then try this dreamy carrot & orange soup instead.
Curried parsnip soup
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped finely
2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
3 medium parsnips, cut into smallish chunks
3 tsp mild to medium curry powder
1 litre hot vegetable stock (Marigold is fine)
100 ml single cream
freshly ground black pepper
fresh chopped parsley
Heat the oil, add chopped onion and garlic and fry gently for about 7-8 minutes, until the onion starts to soften. Add parsnip chunks, stir to coat with oil. Cover the saucepan and let the vegetables to sweat in their own steam for a few minutes.
Stir in the curry powder, add the vegetable bouillon and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, simmer for 20 minutes or until vegetables are soft.
Let the soup cool, then puree with a blender.
When you are ready to serve, add cream and re-heat gently.
Garnish with parsley.