Soup’s on Sundays!

Well friends, it’s come to that time of the year again–that’s right, winter. And with winter comes the season for soup! Now, Nicole would argue that soup is an all-season dish, and I suppose she’s right. I like a good, chilled avocado soup as much as she does. But on days like today where it’s bucketing rain and the temperature’s hovering just around 1 degrees C that I come home shivering, hoping for a hot bowl of something to wrap my hands around.

So, to welcome winter in all it’s glory, I’ve decided that November is going to be Soup month on the blog. Or, at least Soup on Sundays. Each week, I’ll be featuring a different soup to keep you warm on these dark days and nights.

This week’s soup comes to you from the New Soup Bible cookbook, edited by Anne Sheasby. When I bought the book way back in 2011, I thought it was actually another cookbook that I adore, The Soup Bible by Debra Mayhew (I came across Mayhew’s cookbook while working at the Camrose Railway Museum and Tearoom a number of summers ago. I remember it having some incredible recipes, including a carrot ginger recipe I managed to copy out on one of my breaks and staple to the front cover of one of my own cookbooks. That Carrot Ginger soup has been my comfort soup for almost a decade now and has never disappointed). I was sad to realize when I got home that the New Soup Bible was not a revised edition of the cookbook I remembered from my years in the Train Station kitchen, but I’ve been nonetheless impressed with this book ever since.

Picture 29

The New Soup Bible has 200 recipes inside it from all over the world, although there are a high number of Spanish, Portuguese, and Irish soups (as well as Thai–I’m not really sure why those four countries feature so predominantly in this cookbook. It seems somewhat random…) and it’s split into 9 main sections on different kinds of soup (fish, poultry, smooth vegetable, chunky veg, etc.) as well as an extensive introduction on techniques, recipes for soup bases and broths, etc. All in all, I would recommend this cookbook for someone who’s looking to add more pizzazz to their soup repertoire (the recipes also go from fairly simple to (what I think as) fairly complex in ingredients and technique).

So, this week, I made Parsnip and Apple soup–what Ms. Sheasby tells me is a popular Irish soup. I’d made this recipe only once years ago and hadn’t been a big fan of it, but I had the ingredients in my house today and didn’t have enough ginger to make my regular go-to carrot ginger soup, so I figured I’d give this one another whirl. As it was, I was glad I made it!

Picture 28Here’s the recipe (with some additions I made myself due to not having all the ingredients):

  • 2 lbs. parsnips (I had about 1 lbs. of parsnip, so I added some apple to the recipe and decreased the amount of stock)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 5 cups hot chicken stock
  • 2/3 cups light cream (I didn’t have this much cream, so I added 3 small potatoes for creamy texture)
  • salt and pepper, chopped fresh parsley or chives, and/or croutons to garnish
  • (I added 1 cooking apple, chopped, for extra flavour)

1. After chopping onions, crushing garlic, peeling and thinly slicing the parsnips (and potatoes), heat the butter in the pan and add all chopped veg to pot. Cook until onions are softened but not coloured, stirring occasionally. Add the ground cumin and coriander to veg mixture and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring, and then gradually blend in the hot chicken stock (and apple) and mix well.

2. Cover and simmer for ca. 20 minutes, or until the parsnips (and potatoes) are soft.  Puree the soup, adjust the texture with extra stock or water if it seems to thick, and check the seasoning.  Add the cream and reheat without boiling.

3. Serve immediately, sprinkled with chopped chives or parsley to garnish.

All in all, this soup took about 40 minutes to make, which was great because I was famished after working at church this morning, and needed something quick and hot. I was also happy to say that the parsnips, the apple, the potatoes, and the chives were all locally gown/produced (or in the case of the stock, homemade), which gave me some extra pride as I chopped up all the veg.

I asked Nicole over lunch how she would rate this soup, 1 being “I will never eat this again,” and 10 being “I want to eat this everyday”, and she gave it a 5.5. I would maybe give it a 5–it didn’t have much kick to it at all which just made me feel like it was a non-committal soup. But, in terms of it being fast, hot and local, it hit the spot. I would probably make it again, but not unless I didn’t have ingredients for another favourite soup on hand. Things I might change: I would add one more apple to the soup, and some fresh grated ginger, to give things a bit more kick.

Next week, we’re making Estonian Cranberry soup from The Food and Cooking of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. See you Sunday!

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