Supermarket Vegetarian: Part IIV
This sounds a little odd but when you dismantle it, it makes all the sense in the world. So this is my seventh recipe under my SUPERMARKET VEGETARIAN series, a collection of recipes I’ve put together to make meatless recipes more accessible by using ingredients bought only from local supermarkets, and I feel I couldn’t go any further without a soup.
Soup conjures up images of pashmina clad old-ladies hunched over a big bubbling pot, chopping thousands of ingredients and waiting hours for the pot to simmer. This recipe does nothing of the sort. I mean, by all means wear a pashmina (or be an old lady!) but you can do-away with the simmering and chopping.
So the ingredients…
Everything here you can get from your local ASDA – or even a corner shop if you’re confident they have parsnips – and makes use of a triangle of intriguing components. The parsnip gives the soup a woody sweetness but is contrasted with a the salty spike of peanut butter. Peanut butter in a soup may sound a bit bizarre to you, but think about it. That dry-roasted nuttiness of the paste giving a brand new layer to the soup and cutting through the sweetness. Makes perfect sense!
Everything here is done in the oven and then blended so don’t worry about wrankling pans over hot stobes. There’s even the inclusion of a microwave! Yes I’m going to ask you to pop some corn! This is a really delicious alternative to croutons – the crunch is still retained but it feels much lighter and gives a salty pop (pun intended) to each spoonful.
Preheat the oven to 200C. Peel a bag of parsnips (roughly 5-6 parsnips) and throw them into roasting pan. Chop up an onion and throw it in along with two crushed cloves of garlic. Do this by pressing the back of a knife down on the cloves until the garlic slips out of the skins. Don’t worry about the sexiness of your chopping – it’s all getting blended.
Scatter over some salt, black pepper, a little paprika and a small dash of ground cardamom. Drizzle over some oil and toss everything together. Slip the tray in the oven for 40-45 minutes until the parsnips soften but also char up and get smoky around the edges.
In a blender, pour in half a litre of vegetable stock (PS if the stock is hot, you can serve the soup straight away from the blender!). To this, add a big, gooey tablespoon of crunchy peanut butter. It will look gross at this point, but bear with it. Take the vegetables out of the oven and carefully (that soup splashback is annoying) pour the vegetables into the stock in the blender.
Shake in a small drop of cider vinegar, clamp on a lid and blitz everything. I’d put it on a low-ish speed and let it crack on for a few minutes while you do your popcorn. As grim as this sounds, I refuse to tell you how to pop some corn. Seldom do I pop my own corn, we’re talking microwaveable bags here – so just pop up some salted popcorn in the microwave.
Once the soup is blended to a lovely velvety pouring consistency (but still retains a little thickness) serve it up straight from the blender and scatter some of the salted popcorn on top.