Carrot and parsnip soup with cumin and chilli butter

Diana Henry / 20 January 2014

Not your usual ordinary winter warmer, this is rich and thick and a real treat. You can leave out the cream if you are concerned about your fat intake. Double the quantities so you have soup that will last over two days.

Cooking time

50 minutes




  • 15g butter
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 200g carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 200g parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 400ml chicken stock
  • 50 ml double cream
  • salt and pepper
For the butter:
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 red chilli, halved, deseeded and chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp tomato ketchup
  • 50g butter at room temperature


Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed pan and add the onion. Add a couple of tablespoons of water, cover the pan and sweat for 10 minutes, then add the vegetables and seasoning. Cover and sweat for 15 minutes more. Check every so often to make sure that the vegetables are not burning – you may need to add another splash of water. This ‘sweating’ is great for getting the sweetness out of the vegetables.

Add the stock and seasoning and bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and cook until the vegetables are completely tender. Add the cream and leave to cool then puree  in batches in a blender – you want to end up with a completely smooth mixture. Taste for seasoning, and judge whether you need to add any more stock (or water). It depends on how thick you want the soup to be.

To make the butter mash it in a small bowl with a fork. Heat the olive oil in a small frying pan and add the chilli. Cook for only 30 seconds or so then add the cumin and cook for another minute. Leave to cool then scrape the chilli and cumin into the butter, add the tomato ketchup and mash it all together until it is well combined. Cover and put into the fridge so that it can set to firmness.

Heat the soup to serve it and put a chunk of the butter on top, allowing it to melt as you take it to the table.

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