Here we go, there’re only two weeks left of 2015! The countdown to Christmas and to New Year’s Eve is on. There are so many of us worrying about how to survive the holidays without overeating, overdrinking, resisting all that is on offer when visiting family and friends. I mean how can you politely decline Aunt Daisy’s special Christmas cake packed with fruits and nuts, covered with rich homemade marzipan and brandy butter icing, decorated with the cutest little edible reindeers that she had spent hours preparing, right?
The constant worry during the holidays about what to eat, what not to eat, the stress of facing temptation and then dealing with the guilty feelings when we finally indulge in the forbidden treats is worse for our digestion than just simply eating the food. We should be enjoying ourselves: eating slowly, paying attention not only to the taste but the smells, colors and textures. And that even if it’s not a healthy or wise choice we are putting on our fork. After all, stressing from the first bite of foie gras to the last crumbles of the bûche de noël ain’t gonna do no good for our wellbeing.
So once you’re through the copious Christmas meal(s) here is a simple winter soup you can quickly prepare on those evenings when you are longing for something to warm you up but wanna take a break from the heavy holiday meals. Let me add, on a side note, that this soup has potential! You can upgrade it to a fancy starter serving it in a small bowl with a few cubes of foie gras on the side. I promise you, either on Christmas Eve or on New Year’s Eve it’s going to be a success: for you because it’s so quick and easy to prepare, for your guests because these earthy, artichokey tubers marry so well with the meaty chestnuts boosted by the sweet and nutty parsnip! So happy holidays, everyone! And enjoy!
What you’ll need to serve 4:
- 1 small onion or half of a large one, peeled and chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
- 30g salted butter
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 400g Jerusalem artichokes
- 200g chestnuts (I used precooked, ready-to-eat nuts in sous vide packaging)
- 150g parsnip, cleaned and sliced
- filtered water
- 1 cube of organic vegetable stock
- 3 tbs of thick crème fraiche
- Himalaya salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- chives to decorate
- a heaping cup of winter magic
What you’ll need to do:
- Scrub the Jerusalem artichokes thoroughly and slice them. I do not peel the Jerusalem artichokes, you can do so if you wish but it is quite difficult because of the uneven surface.
- In a large saucepan heat the butter and olive oil, then add the chopped onion and stir. Add the garlic as well and gently sauté until softened.
- Now add the chopped Jerusalem artichokes and parsnip. When shopping for your ingredients, try to choose smaller parsnip roots that tend to be sweeter and more tender. Large ones are more fibrous and woody. Give it a good stir and cover the vegetables with filtered water (not too much water, you want this soup to be thick and if needed you can always adjust by adding a bit of water later). Add your cube of vegetable stock, bring to boil then lower the heat and simmer gently until vegetables are cooked.
- Add about three quarters of the pre-cooked chestnuts to the pot, leaving the last quarter for decoration. Turn off the heat.
- Blend the soup well with a hand held mixer and return to the heat. Add salt, pepper, the crème fraiche and cook for a couple of more minutes.
- Slice the remaining chestnuts into thin slices. Serve the soup in bowls, sprinkle with the sliced chestnuts and the chopped chives.