:: It was one of those beautiful May days – bright and sunny but still cool enough for scarves and boots. I took a trip to the Mt Claremont farmers market early in the morning to pick up some fresh produce, including the ingredients for the weekend’s cooking ventures.
My mum was unwell and as she always comes over with supplies for me when I’m at home sick, I decided to make a batch of soup and take her over some for dinner. This recipe from a back issue of Gourmet Traveller had been earmarked for quite some time so it seemed the perfect occasion to try it out.
As well as being wonderfully simple, it filled the kitchen with that fragrant, unmistakable aroma of roasting garlic and had my mouth watering by the time I finished. The smooth, creamy parsnip balances out the caramalised garlic perfectly, resulting in a delicate play of flavours.
3 heads of garlic
60ml olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1.5L chicken stock
1 kg parsnips, coarsely chopped
60ml pouring cream
Sage Burnt Butter
80g cold butter, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup loosely packed sage leaves
Preheat an over to 180°C. Place garlic on a large sheet of foil, drizzle with a glug of olive oil and wrap to enclose. Place on an oven tray and roast until very tender (about 30-40 minutes). Set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, squeeze the garlic flesh out of the skins and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat butter and remaining oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add onion and stir occasionally until tender. Add stock and parsnips, bring to the boil, cover and simmer until parsnips are very tender (about 45 minutes to an hour). Add garlic and puree with a hand-held blender until smooth, then add cream and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside and keep warm.
Meanwhile for burnt butter, heat butter in a frying pan over medium heat until foaming. Add sage and fry until crisp (1-2 minutes), quickly transferring to a plate lined with some absorbent paper once done. Carefully cook butter until just starting to brown and smell nutty, then remove from heat.
Serve soup hot, drizzled with burnt butter and scattered with sage leaves.