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Parsnips, garlic, blue cheese soup

Pale, smooth, delicately sweet but deeply flavoured, this soup is a perfect winter’s lunch. It was dreamt up by our collaborator Nikki Duffy and she recommends using a creamy, softish blue cheese such as Cornish Blue. Dolcelatte works well too, but avoid Stilton, which usually introduces an unwanted bitter note.


Preheat the oven to 190°C/Gas 5. Peel the parsnips, top and tail them, then cut into large chunks. Put them into a large roasting tray with the onion. Spoon over the 2 tablespoons oil, season with some salt and pepper and toss the lot together.

Slice the tops off the garlic bulbs, so the cloves inside are just exposed. Put both bulbs on a piece of foil, trickle generously with oil, add some salt and pepper, and scrunch the foil up loosely around the garlic to enclose it. Nestle the foil parcels in among the parsnips and onion.

Roast for 40–50 minutes until the parsnips are tender and caramelised and the onions are soft, giving the veg a good stir halfway through. Unwrap the garlic. The cloves should be soft and golden inside their papery skins – poke one of the cloves with the tip of a small knife to check. You can always transfer them, still wrapped in their foil, to a smaller roasting dish and cook them a little longer if necessary.

Transfer the parsnips and onion to a blender. Squeeze out the soft garlic cloves from their skins into the blender, adding any garlicky oil from the foil too. Add the hot stock and blue cheese, and purée until completely smooth, adding a touch more stock or water to thin the soup a little if necessary.

Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Serve piping hot, topped with a grinding of black pepper.

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  • 500g parsnips
  • 1 medium onion, thickly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons rapeseed, sunflower or olive oil, plus extra to trickle
  • 2 garlic bulbs
  • About 600ml hot vegetable stock
  • 50g creamy blue cheese, cut into chunks
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

This recipe is taken from...

Hugh’s Three Good Things