The weather today was miserable, dark grey and damp, and I was a bit slow to get started. I'd put pears out in the fruit bowl at the end of last week and they'd been in the 'fridge all weekend, so I thought I'd put 'em in the soup. Parsnip and pear is not quite so common a combination as parsnip and apple, but it works similarly, with the creaminess of the parsnips offset by the tart fruit. In this case, I enhanced the creaminess with creamed coconut and punched up the fruity flavour with curry.
I went down to Oli's and spent eleven pounds, including three loaves of their corek bread. I bought about six kilos of parsnips, I guess, plus a head of celery and a big onion and a a handful of carrots for the mirepoix and a bunch of fresh coriander for garnish. Overnight, I'd made a litre of EasiYo Greek style yoghurt, a jug of which I put on the counter for people to add to their soup.
Back at the Pullens Centre, I trimmed the leaves from the celery and reserved them, then the onion/celery/carrot mirepoix mixture, throwing the diced vegetables into a little oil in the bottom of the soup pot over medium heat. As the soup base cooked, I added minced ginger - say, a square inch - and two dessert spoons of medium hot curry powder.
I peeled the parsnips and cubed them into roughly 2cm spares, adding them to the pot as I cut them and mixing them into the gently cooking mirepoix, keeping the pot lid on and adding a splash of bouillon from a jug to prevent sticking. Once all the parsnips were in the pot, I peeled and cut out the cores from the pears, roughly chopped and added them to the pot. Then I poured in the rest of the two litre jug of bouillon and whacked up the heat.
Adding another two litres of Marigold bouillon (four in total) and melting a 200g block of creamed coconut in two litres of boiling water, I added the leafy celery tops and simmered the soup for fifteen minutes, until the parsnips were cooked through. Then I blended the soup, pouring in the 2l coconut (making 6 litres of liquid in total) and served it with an optional swirl of yoghurt (I don't think anyone declined).
I only served sixteen people today, but they all loved it and several had seconds. I'm hoping that the numbers will pick up this week as M. brought in the fliers that his bro. has printed, which look lush.
Preview: tomorrow, Lou plans to follow this recipe for Sweet Potato & Chilli Soup; on Wednesday, Carlo is talking split peas 'n' spinach with tofu. Join us!