Roasted Parsnip, Garlic and Haricot Bean Soup with Sage

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine and taken from Soup Broth Bread by Rachel Allen of Ballymaloe Cookery School.

Serves : 6

This is a supremely smooth and silky soup, topped with deliciously crisp fried sage leaves. The garlic cloves, when roasted in their skins, deliver a sweet but rounded depth of flavour. This is the perfect soup for a cold and blustery day.

Ingredients :

3 medium or 2 large parsnips, peeled and cut into 2cm chunks
1 large onion, peeled and cut into 2cm chunks
6 very large, whole unpeeled garlic cloves
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 x 400g tin haricot beans
1 litre vegetable or chicken stock
1 tbsp chopped sage

To serve :

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Handful sage leaves

Method :

  1. Preheat the oven to 200oC, 180oC fan, gas mark 6. Place the parsnip and onion chunks in a roasting tray with the whole unpeeled cloves of garlic. Drizzle over the olive oil and toss the vegetables, seasoning with salt and pepper. Spread them out to cover the base of the roasting tray and place in the preheated oven for 35-45 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and a little golden around the edges.
  2. Drain the tin of beans and tip all but a generous tablespoon of beans into the vegetables. Return to the oven for 5 minutes more.
  3. Take the tray out of the oven and tip the beans and vegetables and any juices into a saucepan with the hot stock. Add the chopped sage and blend until smooth. Season to taste.
  4. To serve, pour the hot soup into warm bowls. Put the olive oil into a small frying pan and allow to get hot. Add the sage leaves and fry for 10-15 seconds, until they turn a couple of shades darker and become fragrant. Spoon the sage-flavoured oil and the crispy sage leaves over the soup with the reserved beans, and enjoy.

Parsnip and Chestnut Croquettes

Recipe courtesy of The Ultimate Christmas Cookbook

This is a delightful way to present classic Christmas vegetables.

Parsnip croquettes

450g (1 lb) parsnips, cut roughly into small pieces
115g (4oz) frozen chestnuts
25g (1oz) butter
1 garlic clove, crushed
15ml (1 tblsp) chopped fresh coriander
1 egg, beaten
40-50g (1 1/2 – 2oz) fresh white breadcrumbs
vegetable oil, for frying
salt and freshly ground black pepper
sprig of coriander, to garnish

Makes: 10-12


Step One : Place the parsnips in a saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, until completely tender.

Step Two : Place the frozen chestnuts in a pan of water, bring to the boil and simmer for 8-10 minutes, until very tender. Drain, then place the chestnuts in a mixing bowl and mash roughly.

Step Three : Melt the butter in a small saucepan and cook the garlic for 30 seconds. Drain the parsnips and mash with the garlic butter. Stir in the chestnuts and chopped coriander, then season well.

Step Four : Take about 15ml (1 tblsp) of the mixture at a time and form into croquettes, 7.5cm (3 in) long. Dip into the beaten egg, then roll in the breadcrumbs.

Step Five : Heat a little oil in a frying pan and fry the croquettes for 3-4 minutes until golden, turning frequently so they brown evenly. Drain on kitchen paper and then serve at once, garnished with the fresh coriander sprig.

Tip: The addition of the chestnuts gives the dish a festive flavour. If you are unable to find frozen chestnuts, you could use unsweetened peeled chestnuts available in cans from supermarkets.

For other ideas with chestnuts …