Heading out for a winter walk, whatever the weather? Pack a flask of steaming soup for out-of-season alfresco eating. Cooking root veg over woody herbs gives this seasonal soul-food a wonderfully smoky twist. Enjoy…
4 tbsp uncooked rice (any kind)
10 sprigs of rosemary and/or thyme, plus extra to serve
1 cinnamon stick, broken
750g parsnips, topped and tailed but not peeled
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
750ml vegetable stock
2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped
250–500ml almond milk
Zest of 1 lemon, and a squeeze of juice
A pinch of mixed spice
1 Preheat oven to 200C/Fan 180C/400F. Line a heavy lidded casserole with two sheets of foil large enough to fully line the pot.
2 Tip the rice, herbs and cinnamon into the pot, arrange the parsnips on top and set over a high heat.
3 When the rice starts to smoke, add 2 tbsp of water, cover tightly with a lid and smoke the parsnips over a high heat for 10 mins. Transfer to the oven and cook for a further 20 mins or until the parsnips are tender.
4 Meanwhile, in a large pan, simmer the onion and garlic in the stock for 10–15 mins until tender.
5 Cool the cooked parsnips slightly, then either strip the skin off with your fingers or scrape it off with a teaspoon. Transfer the parsnips to a blender, add the apples and blitz, adding the stock a little at a time, until you have a smooth, thick purée.
6 Blend in as much almond milk as you like, until the soup is your preferred consistency and creaminess. Use milk or cream, if you prefer.
7 Add lemon zest, juice, mixed spice and seasoning, to taste. Warm through the soup just before serving, and finish with a sprinkling of fresh thyme and a grinding of black pepper.