Spiced Parsnip Soup

Tuesday 4 May 2010

I make no secret of my passion for parsnips! I could eat them every day of the week and never get tired of them. Truly! That is no lie!

Although they do have rather funny smell when they are cooking, that I don't exactly cotton to . . . their flavour more than makes up for it, and I am willing to forgive them of that small sin! Kinda like husbands I guess . . . they sometimes don't smell so good either, but we love them just the same!

It was a nice sunny day here today, but boy oh boy that wind was bitter. I spent half of the morning and half of the afternoon, tramping around our town, picking up Catalogues with Todd and freezing my little toosh and fingers off. I didn't want him to be out in that cold wind for too long and if I do half of them, it cuts his outdoor time in half as well!

Then when we got in, I made him a nice pot of hot soup to help warm him up, and myself too!! I had a bag of parsnips in the fridge that needed using and a few apples that had seen better days and so I threw them into a pot along with some onions and stock.

I've seen recipes for spiced parsnip soups before, but they mostly use curry powder to spice it up. I didn't want to use curry powder. I thought with the apple cardamom would go rather nicely and so I threw in some ground cardamom . . . but I wanted something else as well, to give it an extra zest.

I spied a bottle of Sumac in my spice drawer that I had bought a few months back coz it looked interesting, but I had not opened it yet or used it. I wondered what it would taste like.

Sumac powder is the ground berries of a decorative bush which grows wild in the Middle East, and is used fairly often in Middle Eastern Cookery. I had no idea what it tasted like though, so I opened it up and put a bit on my finger to taste. It had a somewhat lemony taste . . . kind of like the smell of lemon . . . if that makes any sense. I thought it would be perfect in this soup and go very well with the cardamom. I didn't want to put it in yet though . . . I took a spoonful of the broth and sprinkled a bit of sumac on top and then tasted it. Perfect! I added some, and let it simmer for a bit longer.

Oh my . . . this was a wonderful call on my part. This soup turned out lovely. One of my most favourite yet! You got the wonderful flavour and creamy sweetness of the Parsnips, with the underlying spicy warmth of the cardamom and a nice lemony hint of sumac. Absolutely fabulous!

We polished off the whole pot all by ourselves . . . I know . . . we're little piggies aren't we!

*Spiced Parsnip Soup*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

A delicately spiced parsnip soup, with just a hint of cardamom and sumac, which will have your guests wondering what that is that is making this taste so wonderfully rich and different!

1 large cooking onion, peeled and chopped
16 ounces parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
2 TBS butter
2 granny smith apples, peeled and cut into chunks
12 ounces chicken broth
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground sumac
salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 cup cream

Heat the butter in a deep saucepan. Add the onions and parsnips and cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft and the parsnips are very fragrant. Do not allow to brown. Tip in the chicken broth, apples, cardamom, sumac and salt and black pepper to taste. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until the parsnips and apples are tender to the fork.

Using a stick blender, puree the soup until smooth. Add the cream and warm. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Delicious!


  1. i would have never thought of trying parsnips, but now i just have to try them. but only using your recipe!

  2. parsnips are wonderful, and now I have to find sumac!
    xoxo Pattie

  3. ...mmm... I love the spices here in this simple soup, Marie! Soup would be perfect on this chilly, wet day... Happy Day, sweet friend--LOVE YOU HEAPS :o) ((HUGS))

  4. I have recently discovered parsnips. I love them. I will be making this. Soon,

  5. sounds grand! I haven't tried that spice! I wonder if it is even carried down here in SC! I live in a backwords area when it comes to some cooking supplies. I love parsnips too, but have not tried a soup with it as the main ingredient. I can't have cream and I bet you it wouldn't taste half so well with almond milk! ha!

  6. ps. It was in the high 80's here the past few days---no chill here ;-)

  7. oh yummo!!! as soon as i can find some sumac i will be making this!

  8. I love parsnips, though they aren't very popular in West Texas. People think they are some type of white carrot. I love 'em pan-fried with a lot of salt. But your soup recipe sounds delicious!

    Ha ha loved your wisecrack about husbands and their smells...

  9. Oh Marie, I miss those lovely blue striped dishes!! Every time I see dishes like them here in the USA I get a lump in my throat!!

  10. Sumac - A wonderful change from the garam masala!

  11. Exciting spices to add to parsnip (doesn't it take spices beautifully!). When my daughter was 5 and I was cooking parsnips she said "It smells like armpits in here!" lol

  12. Parsnips and sumac, what an excellent idea! Wish I had thought of it first.... Parsnips are not that easy to get here, but this soup looks like it's worth the search!


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