Shout out to everyone who is skint after Christmas! I feel you. You’re probably feeling the pinch this month, right? In the UK winter can be a long one with miserable weather, low light levels, and a thousand weeks between paydays; we all experience varying degrees of depression. We need nourishing, reassurance, and saviour in the form of food, after all food can always save the day! And do you know what happens when you feed people? They get happy! This recipe is cheap to make, straightforward enough the kids could make it, and it is incredibly satisfying.
Crispy, salty bacon gives this sweet, warming Parsnip and Apple Soup a real tough edge that will give you a little boost to get through the rest of the cold and miserable months.
Soup ticks so many boxes at this time of year. It can be made in advance in a huge batch and eaten everyday until it’s gone and can also be frozen. Take it to work, have it for dinner, the options are endless!
Apples and parsnips are cheap and in season so make the most of them, and pairing parsnips with salty bacon brings out their unique earthy flavour. I’ve been using butchers bacon recently and the difference between shop-bought is incredible. It’s thicker and the rind crisps up so nicely like crackling giving a fantastic crunch to balance the smooth creamy soup. Smoked bacon has a stronger flavour than unsmoked and streaky would bring more fat to the dish, giving it a richer flavour. Bacon is one of the world’s best seasonings, sometimes just one rasher of bacon is all it takes to add an immense amount of flavour to a soup. Feel free to switch the bacon for chorizo for an alternative spicier twist, omit the bacon if you are a vegetarian, and even substitute it with kosher/Paleo bacon flavourings which are available in the form of crispy pieces. You’d be better off with the real stuff though, if you can make an exception. Okay I’ll stop playing devil’s advocate now.
I used a tart cox apple: you could use bramley or braeburn to achieve the same effect. They will loses some of the sharpness in the oven but still retain that delicious sweet and sour refreshing taste. If you’re not a huge fan of parsnip then mix it up with other vegetables combinations – celeriac is also in season and with it’s subtle flavour, like parsnip, it pairs beautifully with bacon and punchy apple – and is just as cheap.
So for under five pounds you have got yourself a wholesome, nourishing, delightfully comforting little number which will do you proud, reverse some of the effects of all that festive indulgence, and all without sacrificing on flavour. So see yourself through to the end of the toughest months of the year with this gorgeous little number!
- 4 parsnips (sliced length ways)
- 3 small apples (cored and roughly chopped)
- 2 garlic cloves (peeled and sliced)
- 1 red onion (peeled and diced)
- A generous drizzle of olive oil
- 500ml boiling water
- 1 Paleo friendly vegetable stock cube
- 2 rashers bacon
- Salt and pepper to season
- Pre-heat your oven to 160 degrees.
- Place the parsnips and apples on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and season well before placing into your oven to roast slowly.
- Meanwhile chop your onion and garlic and prepare your stock.
- When your parsnips and apples are soft (should take around 20 minutes) you can start to fry your onions and garlic in the olive oil. Add a little salt to the onions to help them sweat. When golden, add the apples and parsnips and fry for a further couple of minutes before adding the stock.
- Fry or grill your bacon until crispy and set aside.
- Bring the soup to the boil and then turn off the heat and blend. I used a hand blender. Taste and add extra salt or pepper according to taste. Don’t forget the bacon will add salt so go easy on the salt.
- Chop your bacon into tiny pieces.
- When you’re happy with the seasoning, spoon into two bowls and drizzle with olive oil for extra richness and finish with a rasher of crumbled crispy bacon in the centre of each bowl.