Parsnip and Tomato Soup

This warming, easy-to-make soup,flavoured with parsnips, tomatoes, garlic and thyme, tastes delicious served with croutons and – poached eggs. For a richer soup, substitute single cream for the milk used in this recipe.

1 oz. butter medium-sized onions, thinly sliced

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 lb. parsnips, trimmed, peeled and chopped

3 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon dried thyme

U pints chicken stock

5 fl. oz. milk

1 bay leaf

14 oz. canned peeled tomatoes

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the onions and fry, stirring- occasion- ally, for 5 to 7 minutes or until they are soft and translucent but not brown. Add the garlic and parsnips and fry, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and sprinkle over the flour, salt, pepper and thyme. Stir well with a wooden spoon to coat the vegetables with the flour and seasonings. Gradually add the chicken stock, stirring constantly and being careful to avoid lumps. Stir in the milk, bay leaf and tomatoes with the can juice.

Return the pan to the heat and bring the soup to the boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and simmer for 40 minutes, or until the parsnips are very tender. Remove the pan from the heat and remove and discard the bay leaf. Strain the soup into a large mixing bowl, rubbing the vegetables through the strainer with a wooden spoon until only a dry pulp is left. Discard the pulp in the strainer.

Alternatively, blend the soup in an electric blender.

Pour the soup back into the saucepan and return the pan to moderate heat. Cook the soup, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes or until it is heated through.

Remove the pan from the heat. Pour the soup into a large, warmed tureen or individual soup bowls and serve im-mediately.

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