Parsnip and Bacon Soup

A crunchy garnish of toasted walnuts and crisp bacon bits makes this hearty soup something to savour on winter nights
By Jenni Muir
Parsnip and Bacon Soup
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Effort: easy

Ingredients

main

  • 1 tbsp olive oil, or vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 100 g rashers of streaky bacon, or ham, chopped
  • 500 g parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 1.2-1.5 litres meat, vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 heaped tbsp honey, (optional)
  • salt, and pepper

For the garnish:

  • 4 tbsp walnut pieces
  • 2 rashers rashers of streaky bacon, chopped
  • a few sprigs of soft thyme, halved or quartered

Method

1. Heat the oil in a soup pot or large saucepan. Add the onion and fry, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until the onion starts to soften. Add the bacon and continue cooking and stirring occasionally for 2 minutes.

2. Add the parsnips and cook for another 10 minutes, until the pieces start to soften and take on touches of golden brown and the edges.

3. Pour the stock into the pan, using 1.2 litres if you like a very thick soup and 1.5 litres if you prefer it fairly thin. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes until the parsnips are very soft.

4. Meanwhile, in a frying pan, toast the walnut pieces over a medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Remove to a bowl. Then add the extra chopped bacon and cook over a high heat, stirring often, until browned and crisp. Remove to paper towel to drain. Mix the walnuts, bacon and thyme together in a bowl and set aside.

5. Remove the soup from the heat and allow to cool briefly before puréeing it with a blender. Return to the pan, heat gently and stir in the honey, if using, allowing it to dissolve in the hot soup. If desired, stir in a little water or extra stock to thin the consistency.

6. Adjust the seasoning to taste then divide the soup amongst serving bowls. Top each with a little of the walnut-bacon-thyme mixture to garnish. Sprinkle with freshly milled pepper and salt and serve.

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