Parsnip watercress soup with peppered parsnip dippers

Parsnip and watercress are at peak season at the same time, which is wonderfully fortunate as they are a fantastic combination. 

Makes enough for 2 as a main dish, 4 as a starter

 

2t rapeseed or sunflower oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 sticks of celery, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1t stock powder

1/2t sea or Himalayan salt

1 litre of water

80g washed watercress leaves, removed from the stems, stems discarded

220g peeled and cubed parsnips

 

For serving

1T rapeseed or sunflower oil

3 large parsnips, peeled and cut into long chips

White pepper

Sea or Himalayan salt

 

Heat your oven to 200c. Put the chipped parsnips onto a baking tray with the oil, mix well. Roast for around 15-20 minutes until they are soft in the middle and crisp on the outside. Scatter with white pepper and salt to taste. Keep warm whilst you make the soup.

Heat the oil in a medium sized saucepan, add the onion and celery, lower the heat and put a lid or plate on top. This will help to sweat the onion and celery making it cook well without too much oil.

Once the onions are translucent, around 10 minutes, add the garlic, cook for a further 5 minutes.

Add the stock, salt, water, watercress leaves and parsnip. Turn the heat up, once it is boiling reduce to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes until the parsnip is soft. Remove from the heat, blend with a hand / immersion blender or in a jug blender that is suitable for hot liquids. Blend the soup until it is completely smooth. The smooth texture will really make quite a difference.

Serve the soup alongside the warm parsnip chips, which are meant to be dunked in the soup.