As the festivities envelope us I’m looking forward to Grandma arriving from England to stay and it’s a joy for my girls to have an overdue two weeks of unrestricted access. With Grandma life is different, and pleasingly so. We often find ourselves sitting down to morning coffee, and cake, followed by lunch, then afternoon tea, and…yes you’ve guessed it, cake again.
We love bringing out our favorite Christmas recipe books and being more frivolous with baking at this time of year (to accommodate the need for cake), but for the most part we’re still left with three real meals a day to fix.
With perhaps a little too-much-on-our-plates both literally and metaphorically speaking, I took some time this week to think about putting my slow cooker to work for lunches, so that neither Graham, my husband, or I are toiling over a hot stove for too long.
In keeping it simple and tasty, I looked at seasonal root vegetables for inspiration. Our friends and neighbors Ann and José pulled parsnips from their plot in our organic community garden recently and they’re easy to come by in the stores at this time of year. This is our parsnip and apple soup with crispy pancetta crumbs, sweet, sour and salty all in a bowl, and minimum preparation required to give you some breathing space over the holidays.
* you can substitute pancetta for bacon or spiced nuts.
2 lbs parsnips, 2 inch dice
1 large onion, 2 inch dice
2 ribs of celery, 2 inch dice
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 medium apple, grated
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups milk
2 tbsp cider vinegar
Salt & pepper
1/3 cup cooked pancetta or bacon, crumbled
Put the parsnips, onion, celery, garlic, apple, broth, milk, cider vinegar and seasoning into your slow cooker insert. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 (this recipe is forgiving and can go a little longer).
Using an immersion blender, blend in your slow cooker until smooth. Serve sprinkled with the pancetta crumbs, bacon crumbs or spiced cashews.
“Few things ignite and refuel the mind more than a brief moment of pause.”