I love dishes that are at once simple and memorable, the kind you can easily make for yourself on a cold, cozy evening and serve to impress holiday guests. This is one such recipe. It starts with a creamy (yet vegan!) roasted parsnip soup and then gets dressed up with an aromatic hit of dukkah and mint.
Ever had dukkah? This Egyptian blend of toasted nuts and seeds is so versatile that you can sprinkle it on vegetables, use it as a crust for meats and serve it as a dip for bread. Here dukkah provides a warm fragrance and textural contrast to the smooth, slightly sweet and garlicky soup. The dukkah recipe below will give you more than is needed for the soup but you'll certainly to find many uses for it.
Creamy Parsnip Soup with Dukkah and Mint
2 pounds parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 yellow onion, peeled and cut into eighths
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
5 cups vegetable stock
1/4 cup dukkah (see recipe below)
Finely shredded fresh mint for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Toss the parsnips, onion and garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast, stirring occasionally, until the parsnips are tender and golden, about 40 minutes. Let cool slightly and squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins. Discard the garlic skins and any burned pieces of onion or parsnip.
Transfer the parsnips, onion and garlic to a blender and purée with the vegetable stock. (Work in batches if necessary.) Pour the soup into a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. If necessary, add water or additional stock for a thinner consistency. Season to taste.
Ladle the soup into bowls and drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Sprinkle with dukkah and garnish with mint.
Makes about 1 cup
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (can substitute almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, or other nuts)
1/4 cup sesame seeds
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt or coarse sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Working in separate batches, toast the seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat, shaking or stirring continually. Toast just until fragrant, remove from the skillet, and let cool completely.
Transfer the coriander, cumin and fennel to a food processor, spice grinder or mortar and pestle and grind to a coarse powder. Add the pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds and grind until crumbly. (Take care not to over-grind or you may wind up with seed butter.) Stir in the salt and pepper.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.