Soups are for winter so why not start off with a silky smooth welcoming parsnip soup with a beguiling hint of pear?
Good soup is all about the quality of the stock so make your own chicken stock for best results.
Use 10 good sized parsnips - peel and then chop into even sized pieces to ensure they are cooked at the same time.
2 leeks - clean free of dirt and slice finely.
2 pears - peeled, cored and diced.
Sautee the leeks in some oil until softened. Barely cover the parsnips and pears with stock.
Place under a lid and simmer until they are soft and easy to puree.
Drain and reserve stock, then sautee them all in some butter, salt and pepper to caramelise and emphasize the sugars.
Place back into the stock and puree. Sieve the soup to make sure that any woody parsnip cores that haven't been thoroughly pureed are removed.
Watercress and Toasted Pine Nut Cream:
Wash half a bunch of watercress 3 times to get rid any grit clinging to the leaves or stems.
Place into a kitchen whiz with a handful of toasted pine nuts and enough stock to make a runny enough puree that can be swirled on the top of the soup for colour contrast.
Up to you whether or not to serve the soup with toast or crusty bread.
Buy good quality chicken stock
Delete pears if you have no time to ripen them
No watercress? You could substitute spinach (frozen is fastest,) or kale if you are desperate.