Nigella’s Christmas Feast: Spicy parsnip, spinach and potato soup

Although spiced parsnip soups were an integral part of my youth and childhood, this version is quite different. It’s rich (though without the butter that was the hallmark of the time), sweet and a glorious snooker-baize green. The added spinach gives the dish a rich texture and savour, which is a great partner for the mildly earthy parsnips.


Parsnips 1 kg

2 fat cloves garlic, peeled

2 litres vegetable or chicken stock

1 tablespoon garam masala

300g organic frozen leaf spinach

Many freshly ground nutsmeat

To taste, add salt and pepper

Add a pinch of single cream to each serving (optional).

  • Peel the parsnips and cut them into equal-sized pieces that will cook in about the same time: that’s to say, leave the skinny twigs as they are, and cut the wider bits into smaller pieces. Each garlic clove should be cut into three pieces. Then, add the parsnips and prepared stock to a large saucepan with a lid. Bring to a boil the stock. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover with water, and then close the saucepan. Cover the pan with the lid. Let the mixture sit for about 15 minutes or until parsnips become soft.
  • Add the garam masala to the bowl, and then add the frozen spinach. Close the oven and let it cook for 5 minutes. The spinach should now be hot and thawed.
  • Allow the soup to cool in the pan. Once it has cooled, use a stick blender or a hand blender to smoothen the mixture. Season the soup with a large amount of fresh nutmeg. If you like, add a bit more garam masala. As this soup thickens, you might need to add more water. Add a splash of cream if desired.