Tony Jackman's Roasted Parsnip Soup

This recipe, from TonyJackman’s  foodSTUFF – Reflections & recipes from a celebrated foodie, is mouthwateringly good. I served it recently at a dinner party and it was sublime. I couldn’t wait to tell Tony,  a former colleague from our days at The Argus newspaper, how impressed we all were. The addition of bacon and ginger is pure genius. This is the first of three recipes I’ll be featuring from foodSTUFF, a beautiful and fascinating food memoir in which Tony shares stories and treasured recipes about the food, and the eating, that has shaped his life.

Roasted Parsnip Soup
By Tony Jackman

Roasting vegetables before making a soup out of them has an extraordinary impact on the flavour of the resulting dish. Parsnips are particularly good for roasting as they caramelise beautifully and their innate sweetness and nuttiness come to the fore. And the bacon and caramelised ginger add a lovely touch of decadence.

50 ml water
50 ml sugar
5 cm piece of ginger, peeled and diced very finely
1 large onion, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, chopped
8-10 parsnips, depending on their size
olive oil
2 tbsp butter
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 L quality chicken stock
6-8 sage leaves
100 ml cream
100 g thick bacon, cut into cubes

Put the water and sugar in a saucepan and heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Add the diced ginger and cook until the liquid has become a syrup and the ginger is soft and caramelised.  Keep aside.
Peel the onion, garlic and parsnips and place in a roasting tray. Drizzle liberally with extra-virgin olive oil and dot with butter. Grind salt and black pepper over. Roast in a 180 .C oven until soft and caramelised.
Cut up the parsnips and place all of the roasted ingredients in a large pot. Add the chicken stock and sage leaves. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 25–30 minutes, uncovered. Pour in the cream while stirring and simmer for 5 minutes or so, stirring now and then. Season with salt and pepper and taste to get the flavour balance right. Blend until smooth.
Before serving, fry the bacon cubes. Spoon the caramelised ginger and a little of the syrup into a bowl, add the bacon and stir. Spoon a dollop of this into the centre of each serving of parsnip soup. Finish with a grind of black pepper.

Cover of foodSTUFF by Tony Jackman
Cover design: Catherine Coetzer; Photograph: Myburgh du Plessis

This recipe is from foodSTUFF by Tony Jackman (Human & Rousseau, an imprint of NB Publishers). Thank you, Tony! Your soup is delicious.