I’ll admit it, I’m really not a winter person at all. I just don’t handle cold that well, but there is one thing that always helps: soup! Since this is my first winter soup recipe I wanted it to be really good, but I just couldn’t decide on what to use as my main ingredient, until I saw Carrefour’s ad for the ‘Become a Belgetarian’ campaign. Every month the Belgian Carrefour shops promote 5 Belgian ingredients to help support local farmers and among the ingredients featured now were Belgian parsnips and sole caught by Belgian fishers in the North Sea. So I figured I’d combine the two into a lovely winter soup, even though I had never tasted parsnip or sole before. And don’t worry, you don’t have to live in Belgium to enjoy this soup, parsnips and sole are available everywhere! I also accidentally ended up having to fillet the fish myself and although I didn’t get the hang of it right away, I am very pleased I finally tried it and can now fillet fish myself!
Serves: 4 people
- 2 onions
- 3 medium sized potatoes
- 3 parsnips
- 1dl cream (35%)
- 4 bay leaves and 6 twigs of thyme
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 15 chives
- 1,5l hot water or more
- 3-4 sole fillets
- dried basil & pul biber (mild dried red chili pepper flakes)
- salt & pepper
Tie the bay leaves and thyme up with some cooking string. Cut the onion up into small pieces, peel the potatoes and cut them in thick slices and do the same for the parsnips. You don’t want to cut the potatoes and parsnips in chunks that are too big cause it will make it harder to mix in the end.
Melt some butter in a deep pot and add onion and crushed garlic until the onion becomes translucent. Add the potatoes and parsnip and let them stew for 5 minutes. Add the hot water, your tied up herbs and chives and let the soup cook for about 30 minutes.
In the meanwhile we can start rolling up the sole fillets, so we can steam them on top of the soup for a couple of minutes before it’s ready. We want to make these roll-ups quite spicy to add some power to the soup, so let’s stat of by adding some pepper and salt before we roll them up. Because I ended up having to fillet the fish myself, I had cut off 4 slices of fish from each fillet, which made each piece no wider than around 8cm so if your fillets are a lot wider, simply slice them in half lengthways. It’ll be easier and faster to steam the fillets if they aren’t too big and it’ll make it easier to eat them as well cause you won’t need to cut them up while you’re eating. Now roll them up and make sure the side where the skin used to be is on the inside of the roll-up, this should prevent your roll-ups from bursting open when you steam them. If you’re not sure you rolled them up the right way, you can simply pierce them with a toothpick to make sure they stay together. Last but not least, we’re going to add some more spices! I used about 2 tablespoons of dried basil and 1 tablespoon of pul biber for 8 roll-ups.
After half an hour, remove the tied up herbs, add the cream to your soup and mix it really well until there aren’t any potato or parsnip chunks left. Season with pepper and salt and add more water if you want a thinner soup and mix again every time you add more water. Put the soup back on the heat, but don’t let it boil. The steam from the soup will now be used to steam our roll-ups.
To steam the sole fillets, I simply placed an oven rack on top of my soup pot and then put the steaming basket (with the lid on it) on top. It only took 5 minutes to steam the roll-ups so simply wait until your soup is nearly ready before steaming the fish. Once the roll-ups are ready you can take them out of the basket and spoon the remaining juices into the soup as well. Serve each bowl of soup with 3-4 roll-ups and you’re good to go!