Curried Parsnip Soup

Curry spices work well with parsnips, balancing their rather sweet flavour.


  • about 550 g/ lb parsnips
  • 3 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cardamom seeds
  • 225 g/ 8 oz onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 225 g/ 8 oz white parts of leeks, thinly sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • 150 ml/ ¼ pt double cream
  • whole flat-leaved parsley and coriander leaves, to garnish

For the Stock

  • 225 g/ 8 oz onion, chopped
  • 225 g/ 8 oz leek greens, chopped
  • 1 bulb of fennel, chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 5-cm / 2-inch piece of ginger, sliced
  • handful of parsley stalks
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 16 black peppercorns


Quarter the parsnips and cut out the woody cores. Coarsely chop the flesh and reserve. Put peelings and cores into a large pot with the remaining stock ingredients. Add 2.25 litres/ 2 quarts of cold water. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Pass through a fine sieve and reserve.

In a dry pan over a low heat, toast the cumin, coriander, mustard and cardamom seeds. Grind to a fine powder.

Fry the onion gently in the olive oil until golden. Stir in the spice powder and continue to cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the stock, parsnips, white parts of leeks, celery stalks and salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Blitz to a smooth purée in a blender or food processor and return to the pan.

Just before serving, stir in the double cream and adjust the seasoning. Heat through gently. Garnish with whole leaves of flat-leaved parsley and coriander.