Currabinny Cookbook Parsnip and Fennel Soup
In this soup the natural sweetness of parsnip combines beautifully with the delicate aniseed flavour of fennel. The result is smooth, velvety and very elegant.
1 4 medium-sized medium-sized onion parsnips 2 large fennel bulbs, stalks removed 1 stick of celery 15g fresh flat-leaf parsley 70g butter sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 1½ litres vegetable stock 200ml milk To serve: fresh cream fresh fennel fronds
Peel the onion and parsnips. Chop finely, together with the fennel bulbs and celery, to roughly the same size dice. Roughly chop the parsley leaves. Melt the butter in a large pot or casserole dish. Add the onion, parsnips, fennel and celery, and season well with salt and pepper. Stir so that everything in the pot is well coated in the butter.
Construct a cartouche by cutting a circle of greaseproof paper which perfectly covers the inside of your pot. Press this down on the vegetables, sealing them in to cook. Put the lid on the pot and cook for around 10 minutes on a gentle heat. Check and stir at least once to make sure nothing is catching on the bottom.
Meanwhile, in another pot, heat up your vegetable stock until it comes to the boil. This will shorten the cooking time considerably.
When it’s boiling, remove the cartouche from the other pot and pour your hot stock over the vegetables, stirring the contents to make sure nothing is stuck to the bottom.
Simmer on a medium heat for around 20 minutes until the vegetables are completely soft and tender.
Add the milk and parsley, and blend with a stick blender until completely smooth and creamy.
Check the seasoning and serve with a swirl of cream and some fennel fronds sprinkled on top of each bowl. From the Currabinny Cookbook, by James Kavanagh & William Murray. Published by Penguin Ireland.