About This Blog

This is, as the title indicates, my kitchen notebook (the header is actually a scanned image of the cover of a notebook that I started using about 25 years ago and the background is a stained page from that book). I am not a professional recipe writer. If you try any recipe here, please keep that in mind, these recipes have not been tested by an independent tester. The "recipes" are often not even really recipes but rather a list of ingredients that I've noted after preparing a dish on the fly that I thought came out well. Perhaps I've also added some instructions, but I rarely keep accurate track of what I've done in terms of time or temperature, I've just noted to the best of my memory (feeble) what I did.

Please feel free to take some inspiration from here, but on the other hand, please give credit where it is due. I also welcome any constructive comments that you might have if you are inspired to try a recipe. Questions are welcome, but keep in mind that I may not remember specifics. The dishes do evolve over time...

Thank you and enjoy!

Spiced Parsnip Soup

I wanted something like a curry powder for the seasoning for the soup but didn't want a lot of turmeric and didn't want it to be hot so I made up this spice blend. Just use a tablespoon of curry powder if you prefer.

For the spice mixture:
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon dried green coriander seed
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seed
1 black cardamom pod
1/2 stick (about 1 1/2 inches) canela cinnamon (Mexican cinnamon)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

For the soup:
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
Rice bran oil
1 large white onion, diced
Salt to taste
30 oz. parsnips, peeled and cubed
1 quart chicken stock
1/2 cup creme fraiche or heavy cream
about 1/2 cup, more or less, water

Grind the whole spices in a spice mill to a fine powder. Add the ground ginger and turmeric and mix well. Measure out 1 tablespoon of the mixture for the soup.

Pour the oil into a small saucepan to a depth of about 1 inch. Heat the oil to about 350ºF. Fry the shallots until dark brown and crisp. Carefully pour the shallots and oil through a heat proof sieve, reserving the oil. Spread the shallots out on paper toweling to cool.

Heat a few tablespoons of the reserved shallot oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the spice mixture and allow it to sizzle for a minute or so until it is fragrant - don't let it burn. Add the diced onion and a large pinch of salt to the pan, stir, cover the pot and turn the heat down. Allow the onions to sweat, stirring a few times, until they are translucent. Add the parsnips and stock to the pot, cover and cook gently until the parsnips are tender. Use a wand blender to puree the soup or transfer it in batches to a blender and blend until smooth. Blend in the creme fraiche and add water if the soup seems to thick. Taste for salt.

Serve, garnished with some of the fried shallots.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

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