1 Dec 2009

Christmas Soup!

Here it is!  Phase three of Getting to Know Beetroot:   
Beetroot and Parsnip Soup!
 (which will forever now be known as 'Christmas Soup')

I was going to post this last week but, when I saw how gorgeously Red, White and Festive it was, I had to save this for Day One of my Christmas Countdown.  First of December - Yay!

Back to the soup: I returned to the Good Food Channel (where I found the chocolate beetroot cake recipe) and tweaked their soup recipe to the amount of beetroot which I'd harvested. (I didn't want to pull up too much beetroot in case I didn't like the soup!)  As I only had a third of the beetroot required, the soup leans more towards the parsnip and carrot flavours but retains the beetroot colour which, I think, makes it a soup which children will love.   And this soup, for me, ticks many boxes:  looks, taste,  nutrition, ease of cooking. I never thought I'd hear myself saying that about beetroot!

Here's my version:
Parsnip and Beetroot Soup
 (heh, heh - note the subtle change of name)

For 4 good sized bowls, you will need:
150g Onion; 250g Carrots; 300g Parsnip (approx 2 medium); 700ml stock; 200g Cooked Beetroot; 1/2 tsp Garam Masala; Olive Oil; seasoning to taste; Dill & Yogurt for garnish.
  1. Cook beetroot and leave to cool before peeling and discarding stems and roots. Chop into smaller chunks.  Peel and chunk carrots and parsnips.  Slice onions.
  2. Heat oil in heavy based pan.  Add onions, carrots and parsnip. Stir to coat. Put on lid and sweat for 5 minutes until starting to soften.
  3. Add Garam Masala.  Stir in and cook for 2 minutes more.
  4. Add stock and beetroot.  Bring to boil then simmer for 20 minutes, lid off.
  5. When cool, blend soup until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper as needed.
  6. Serve with a swirl of yoghurt (drop in over the back of a spoon, as with Irish Coffee) and a sprinkling of finely chopped dill fronds.  (To make swirls, use a fine knife/ chopstick/ skewer. Dip into yogurt and pull the yogurt gently into the soup in small circles. Repeat.)
 And here it is in pictures!

Onion, Parsnip, Carrots about to be 'sweated'.

Stock and Beetroot added. Mmm, getting redder!

Simmering …

Cooled and ready to blend …

First tasting?  Wow!  Yum.
(You should know that I love parsnip and carrots.)
(And that I added a little more stock after this pic was taken, and adjusted the ingredients list accordingly.)
  1. The original recipe calls for Ground Coriander which I didn't have.  I used Garam Masala, which has about 50% ground coriander in it, and it was delicious. (It harmonises well with the parsnips.)
  2. My first bowl didn't have Dill in it and was very nice.  I bought Dill at the weekend for the soup and it added a whole new taste dimension, as did the yogurt - and both are quite important for the Christmas look!
  3. Did you know that Dill is traditionally the Ancient Sign of Fortune? Another reason to include it, I think!  (It is a herb described by Waitrose as "feathery fronds of fragrant flavour". Love that.)
  4. I used homemade chicken stock but if you use vegetable stock (or a veg stock cube), this recipe would be completely vegetarian.
Nutrition facts* that make this a very healthy soup:
Beetroot: A wonder food! A good source of soluble fibre, packed with Vitamins A, C and B6, and folic acid.  It is both an appetite stimulant, easily digested and contains an abundance of calcium, potassium, choline, organic sodium and natural sugars.  Helpful for anaemia, anxiety, fatigue, skin problems, liver problems, circulatory weakness, menstrual and menopausal problems, high and low blood pressure.

Parsnips: Another good source of fibre and packed with vitamins and minerals. The organic chlorine (not the sort used in swimming pools!) is a natural mineral and as such is used as a body cleanser. Parsnips are rich in sulphur and silicon which is very helpful for skin and hair health.  Parsnip juice is also very beneficial for anyone suffering from lung conditions, but small to medium sized parsnips are best for this.

Onion:  Rich in vitamin C, copper and iron, as well as sulphur, calcium and phosphorus.  The juice was used by the Romans for treating skin disease and healing wounds but is equally good for the immune system today!

* I firmly believe that being aware of what you eat is better than spending hours at the doctor's surgery.  I occasionally juice fruits and veg and the above facts are taken from a book called "Getting the Best out of your Juicer" by William H Lee.  Published in USA, it's not widely available in UK and  may be out of print.  I think I bought mine in a health shop about ten years ago.

I think that I've now probably had my fair share of the community beetroot, although there's still a few little ones left. Having discovered this soup, I shall finish my beetroot quest on a note of success and resolve to grow it again next year (sow under cover from March). So, no more beetroot recipes from me for now, especially as I hope to turn my attention towards Garden Inspired crafts in the Countdown to Christmas.

Caro x
PS. Sorry this is such a long post - I had a lot to say about this exciting soup!


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