Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Parsnip and Lemon Soup

It's Tuesday, so it must be recipe day.

(Yes, I know, I haven't done one for ages. Call me slack or something. But "Recipe Tuesday" is now back and raring to go.)

About 3 weeks ago, the farm shop started selling this year's parsnip crop. I bought a kilo (2lb), planning to make the Parsnip and Cashew Nut Roast from the Weight Watchers' cookbook, Cook, Eat, Enjoy. My flat refusal to pay £6/kilo for cashews at the supermarket and inability to organise myself to go for a wander "down Southall" to the Asian shops to buy cashews at half that price, meant that the parsnips grew old and wizened in the fridge. They were looking very ropey when I dug them out of the veggie draw yesterday and decided to make soup.

(It was either make soup or bin them. The Frugalista in me insisted on the former option. As it was, about half the quantity of leathery old parsnips ended up in the bin.)

I like vegetable based soups for all sorts of reasons: they're an easy way of getting some of my "five a day"; they're usually cheap; they are low in WW points; and, for a former vegetable hater (me), they offer a great way to disguise or alter the taste of a not-much-liked vegetable and make it appealing.

This is another Weight Watchers' recipe, this time from their Pure Points cookbook. The whole quantity of soup costs 8 WW points. The recipe originally said "serves 4", but the soup is rather thick - you could easily water it down a bit further. Also, don't be alarmed at the cumin; it adds something to the flavour, but you won't taste it in the final soup. The lemon isn't particularly noticeable either, what it does is neutralise the bitterness of the parsnips.


500g (1lb) Parsnips, peeled and sliced
1 onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Grated rind of 1 lemon*
750 ml vegetable stock (I use 2 teaspoons of Marigold brand stock powder for this)
300ml skimmed milk
Olive oil spray
salt and pepper


  1. Spray a large saucepan with the oil spray and heat. When the oil is hot, stir in the onion. Turn the flame under the pot to low, cover and leave for approximately 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. (I do this then prepare the parsnips and the lemon.)
  2. When the onion is soft, stir in the parsnips then sprinkle over the cumin. Fry for approximately one minute, stirring all the time, or until the aroma rises.
  3. Pour over the stock, stir and bring it to the boil. Cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes or until the parsnip is soft and mushable.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat and either transfer the contents to a blender/liquidizer/food processor or use a wand whisk to blend the contents until smooth.
  5. Return the soup to the pot. Stir in the milk and the lemon rind. Season with salt and pepper. Reheat but DO NOT boil (the milk may curdle due to the lemon).
If you don't eat it immediately, this will thicken on standing. It seems to freeze well (I haven't defrosted any yet, but it didn't split or anything when I froze it).

- Pam

* I store grated lemon rind in an ice cube tray in the freezer. Whenever we use lemons, I'll grate the rind and pack it into the tray. I think half a lemon gives one cube of rind. Stop grating when the yellow bit disappears - you don't want the bitter white pith.


Myownigloo said...

Thanks for this. I love parsnips but run out of ways to cook them, so I rarely buy them.

The ingredients are a bit exotic, but I'll improvise, or take a trip to a British specialty shop. (I've never heard of marigold powder.)


PipneyJane said...

MOI, any vegetable stock will do. Marigold is just the brand that I use, available at any health food store here and some supermarkets.

- Pam