Parsnip, chestnut and honey soup, with cumin and sweet-pepper pistou
For the pistou
— 1 sweet red pepper,
deseeded and chopped
— 1 garlic clove, chopped
— 1 tsp cumin seeds
— 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
or rapeseed oil
— 2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley,
For the soup
— 115g butter
— 2 medium onions, roughly chopped
— 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
— 400g parsnips, pared and chopped into 1cm dice — 100g cooked chestnuts, peeled
— 2 apples, cored and chopped into 1cm dice — 1.6 litres vegetable stock — 160ml crème fraîche First make the pistou. Put the chopped pepper, garlic and cumin seeds in a pan with two tablespoons of the oil.
Place over a low-medium heat and fry for about 10 minutes until the ingredients are soft but not coloured. Remove from the heat and put in a blender with a pinch of salt and the remaining oil, and whizz until smooth. Use a spatula to scrape the pistou into a bowl, stir in the parsley and set to one side.
To make the soup, melt the butter in a large pan, then fry the onions and garlic over a low-medium heat until soft.
Add the parsnips, chestnuts and apple, and stir-fry for a minute. Pour in the stock, bring to the boil, then simmer for 12-15 minutes until all the vegetables are very soft.
Blend in the crème fraîche, then liquidise the soup until it is very smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Serve the soup piping hot, with a little of the pistou swirled on the surface.