The cooler Winter months are the perfect time for cooking root vegetables, especially when it comes to bowls of comforting soups, broths and stews. – such an Irish thing, and living in a warm climate such as Georgia, I always enjoy the opportunity for wonderful soups.
This week I had the opportunity to cook at the Piedmont Cancer Center in Atlanta with a menu featuring Winter Root Vegetables, which gave me the perfect opportunity to pull out some recipes from the homeland. – Growing up as a child in Ireland, my favorite vegetables were always mashed carrots with parsnips, and along with roasted parsnips, -essential parts of a traditional Irish Sunday roast dinner. So, when creating nutritious recipes for my Root Vegetable class I was naturally drawn to include parsnips in the menu.
When preparing this delicious soup, the inclusion of fresh ginger and curry, alongside the root vegetables, gives this soup a modern Asian flair while the fresh pears add a natural sweetness. Julienne matchstick pears on top, then gives the dish a refreshing fresh and surprising crunch.
I do hope you enjoy this healthy recipe which is so good for the body and great the soul! Finish the soup with a little cream, or olive oil -your choice! It’s all good…
Parsnip and Ginger Pear Soup (with fresh pear garnish and olive oil)
2 Tbsp coconut oil or Kerrygold butter
1 medium (1 cup) Vidalia onions (chopped)
1 celery stick (3/4 cup diced)
4 parsnips (4 cups peeled and diced)
2 medium (1 ½ cups) pears (peeled and chopped)
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
6 cups vegetable stock
2 cups pear juice
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp curry powder
½ pear (cut in to matchsticks)
Squeeze of lemon juice
Drizzle of good olive oil (or creame fraiche)
How to make it
In a large soup pot, melt the butter or coconut oil and sauté the onions, celery, parsnips, pears and grated fresh ginger over a medium to low heat, then over and cook until they are fragrant and beginning to color for another 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the stock, pear juice, curry powder and salt and pepper and simmer for 25 minutes until all the ingredients are tender and the liquid has slightly reduced. Taste to adjust seasoning.
Using a hand blender puree the soup until smooth or use a food processor.
To serve place 1 tsp of chopped pear in each warm bowl followed by the soup and then drizzle with a little olive oil.
leek and Potato Soup (with Spring Onion Puree and Garlic and Garlic and Herb Dubliner Croutons)
This cold spell even in “Hotlanta” (Atlanta) is bringing me to the soup kitchen and conjuring up flavors from my Irish homeland. There are a few special soups that for me represent Ireland in a bowl and this recipe no doubt is high on my favorites list.
Truth be told, I am a huge ‘soup person’, and this one is creamy, flavorful and satisfying with a buttery spring onion puree topped with crunchy garlic & herb butter and Dubliner cheese croutons. Satisfying indeed on a cold night! – The amount of Irish butter in the initial sauté seems rather indulgent but I promise you it creates a magnificent taste and texture.
As in previous years, this week I am again heading to Florida with my sponsor (Kerrygold) for a St. Patrick’s day tour of Publix Aprons cooking schools – and I’m so excited to get out there and meet folks, and share what’s great about Ireland! If you live near Sarasota, Tampa, Lakeland, Orlando, Jacksonville, Tallahassee or Atlanta please check out the event page of my website and come and see me. -This soup is one of the yummy features on my very Irish menu just in time for St. Patrick’s day!
Leek and Potato Soup with Chive Puree and Kerrygold Garlic and herb croutons
4 oz Kerrygold salted butter
1 medium onion (diced)
2 large leeks sliced (use mainly the white part)
5 medium potatoes (4 cups potatoes peeled and diced)
2 ½ pints Chicken Stock
1 tsp kosher salt
1/8 freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp of cream
(for the spring onion puree)
4 spring onions (chopped)
Fine sea salt
4 Tbsp Kerrygold salted Irish butter (melted)
(for the garlic and herb cheese croutons)
3 slices of day old baguettes (cut in to cubes)
4 Tbsp Kerrygold garlic and herb butter
1 oz Dubliner cheese (finely grated)
How to make it:
In a heavy based saucepan melt the butter over low heat. Add the leeks and onions allowing them to “sweat” until they are fragrant.
Add the stock and potatoes and season with salt and pepper.
Stir to combine on medium heat and bring to a boil. Cover and then turn the temperature down allowing the soup to gently simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.
Allow the soup to cool slightly before using an emulsion blender to smooth.
To make the spring onion purees blanch the spring onions in salted boiling water for just less than 1 minute. Strain and place in Ice water. Transfer to a blender to puree. On low heat melt Kerrygold butter and slowly drizzle in to the puree to create froth.
To make the croutons preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Melt the butter and toss in the bread cubes. Bake for 10-15 minutes turning half way or until crunchy and toasted. Sprinkle Dubliner over croutons for 1 more minute to melt.
To serve the soup return to heat and bring to a gentle boil. Lower the temperature and finish the soup by adding the cream. Taste to adjust for seasoning. Serve in individual bowls with a drizzle of the frothy spring onion puree and a few garlic and herb cheesy croutons.