This soup was an experiment in recreating a meal we ate in a wonderful vegetarian cafe in Manchester. I remembered the parsnip and pear soup so fondly that I’ve been meaning to try it for a few weeks, and some parsnips left over from last weekend’s roast gave the perfect opportunity.
There’s probably a golden ratio when it comes to soup making, but as a home cook I often abide by the “chuck it all in a big pot and blend” school. It generally works out with some degree of success. Lately though, I’ve been forcing myself to combine flavours more intentionally in my soups – so they are less about using up the veg languishing at the back of the fridge and more of a meal in their own right. While “mystery vegetable soup” will almost certainly remain on rotation out of necessity, this dish confirms why deliberate combinations are so much more rewarding.
Conference pears add a sweet background to the earthy taste of the parsnip – and whilst the original didn’t contain almonds in any shape or form, I couldn’t resist adding some creaminess via a good glug of unsweetened almond milk along with the stock. The finished soup was subtle and satisfying, perfect with homemade soda bread and a warming end to a blustery January day.
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion - peeled and diced
- 3 or 4 medium parsnips (around 500- peeled and chopped
- 3 conference pears - peeled quartered and cored
- 1 medium potato - peeled and diced
- 500 ml almond milk
- 500 ml vegetable stock
Heat the vegetable oil in a large, thick-bottomed pan.
Cook the onion in the oil for around 5 minutes until it becomes soft and translucent. Stir often to prevent it browning or sticking to the pan.
Tumble in the chopped parsnip, the potato and the pear quarters.
Add in the almond milk and vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes or until the vegetable are tender.
Allow to cool as briefly as you dare (hot liquids and food processors don't always mix!), then blend until smooth.
Return to the pan to keep warm until serving. Top with cracked black pepper and flaked almonds if you like.