I can’t believe it’s five years since I started working at TASTE! When I first started I was 19, overwhelmed, over-excited and super eager to learn.
About a year into my time here, we did a travel story to the Karoo and I was lucky enough to tag along. It’s still one of the best travel stories I have ever worked on. We visited Prince Albert and the people were so lovely and friendly, giving us a typical small town welcome.
News of the TASTE team’s arrival quickly spread, and we were shown around and introduced to the local bakeries, antique shops and farms. We went to olive farms and fig farms, amongst many others, but my favourite was the farm owned by a man who goes by the name of Brett the Vet, owner of the most beautiful ridgeback puppies and grower of gorgeous vegetables. I have a vivid memory of pulling fresh parsnips out of the earth after the first frost of the season.
Parsnips are in season now, and perfect for a warm winter’s dinner. When buying them, make sure they have pale, firm skins. They should be crisp and snap easily, and have a sweet taste. Older parsnips will be slightly discoloured and woody, and have little flavour so hunt out the freshest ones you can find.
Parsnips are often neglected but can be surprisingly versatile. This spiced soup is one of my favourite uses for them and is the perfect antidote to that miserable winter cold. I also love roasting them with a few knobs of butter, a good drizzle of honey and lots of sea salt. Eat them whole or purée them and serve with a roast chicken, delicious!
- 12 parsnips
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 t ground cumin
- ½ t dried chilli
- ½ t ginger
- A pinch of sea salt
- 2 onions
- 1 potato
- 1 t olive oil
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 2-3 T milk
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Peel and slice parsnips, toss in olive oil and arrange on a baking tray.
- Scatter over ground cumin, dried chilli, ginger and a pinch of sea salt. Roast for 15 – 20 minutes until sticky and golden.
- Chop onions and one potato. Place in a saucepan with olive oil and sweat for 10 minutes, then add the roasted parsnips and chicken stock.
- Simmer for 10 minutes before removing from the heat and blending with milk. Season and reheat in a clean saucepan.
The time is ripe for a parsnip renaissance so give them a try and let me know what you think!
For more tips on how to shop and cook like a chef, head over to the Woolworth’s Pantry