Parsnip soup served with a spoonful of medlar jam

Garden recipe: Parsnip soup with medlar jam

Grow your own parsnips and cook this soup over an open fire when camping or on the allotment as a warming lunch or early supper. Recipe by Cleve West.

Winter soup such as this can be a meal in itself or served as a starter – although too rich a main course afterwards will leave absolutely no room for pudding. To inject even more nuttiness to this recipe, we sometimes roast the parsnips first, but this version is easier, and still delicious. Cook it at home and take it to the allotment to warm your hands and belly at lunchtime or, cook over an open fire when camping.

Parsnip soup served with a spoonful of medlar jam


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 carrot
  • 450g parsnips
  • 5cm nub of fresh root ginger, chopped
  • 1 litre vegetable bouillon stock
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • medlar jam and/or crème fraîche to garnish


  1. Heat oil, sauté onion gently until translucent. Add garlic and ginger and fry for a few seconds before adding the carrot and parsnips. Stir and cook for a further five minutes.
  2. Add stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
  3. Taste for seasoning. If making this soup at home, purée in a blender – if cooking alfresco, improvise with a potato masher for a more rustic version. Add a little extra stock if the soup is too thick.
  4. Reheat gently, before serving with either crème fraîche and/or a dollop of medlar jam as a garnish.

Recipe Cleve West
Photo Andrew Montgomery