Creamy Parsnip Soup with Partridge Sausage Rolls
Portion/Yield:Serves 6 as a starter or serves 4 as a main course
This recipe has a level of sophistication that lends itself to a show-off starter. The partridge sausage rolls are to die for. Partridge meat is combined with pork mince and smoked bacon to give extra character and body to the traditional sausage roll. Serve a few of the rolls alongside a large bowl of this soup and the recipe can easily become a hearty suppertime meal. Sausage rolls also make a lovely change from the usual soup accompaniment of bread and butter.
I roast the bones from the partridge to make a stock that forms the base of this soup. Soups are pretty simple to make, but they are a type of dish where shortcuts and laziness can really stand out. When you cook a soup, it’s very important to start seasoning from the very beginning and to do it in stages. It’s easy to add too much salt, yet also very noticeable if you do not season the soup at all and then add the salt on serving. All you will taste is surface salt and you won’t have achieved the layers of flavour that should have been carefully built up throughout the cooking process.
Michel Roux Jr. always said that whatever touches the pan must be accompanied by seasoning. I shall never forget his wise words but I would suggest this is done within reason. I have made plenty of mistakes during my career as a chef, and I shall never forget an incident when I was a commis chef and made 20 litres of leek and potato soup that was only good enough for the drain. Surface salt and too much pepper were the obvious causes of its ruin and I still hang my head in shame when I think about it.
Ingredients & Method
For the partridge sausage rolls
- 2 oven-ready partridges (about 250g each)
- 200g minced pork
- 60g smoked streaky bacon rashers, finely diced
- 50g parsnip (prepared weight), grated
- 1/2 onion, finely diced
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 eggs
- 300g good quality chilled fresh all-butter puff pastry
- 1 tablespoon golden linseeds
- sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
For the creamy parsnip soup
- 50g unsalted butter
- 1 leek, washed and roughly sliced
- 1 stick celery, roughly diced
- 1 onion, roughly diced
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 bay leaf a sprig of fresh thyme, leaves only
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
- 2 black peppercorns, crushed
- 1.2 litres cold water
- 700g parsnips, peeled and sliced
- 200ml dry white wine
- 100ml double cream
- 1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
Start by roasting the partridge bones to make the stock for the soup. Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6. Remove the skin from the birds, then remove the breasts and leg meat from the bones and set aside. Place the bones in a roasting tin and roast in the oven for 30 minutes or until dark golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside.
While the bones are roasting, prepare the sausage rolls. Cut the partridge breast and leg meat into 1cm dice, then place in a large mixing bowl and add the minced pork, bacon, parsnip, onion, ground coriander, parsley and 1 egg. Season lightly with salt and pepper and mix well.
Whisk the remaining egg in a small bowl and set aside. Divide the puff pastry in half and roll out each half on a lightly floured work surface to a rectangular shape, about 18 x 8cm in size and 2–3mm thickness. Divide the meat mixture in half and roll each portion into a long sausage shape, about 3cm in diameter. Place a sausage on to the centre of a pastry rectangle and brush the pastry edges with the beaten egg, then fold one half of the pastry over to cover the sausage and press the long edges together to seal, to form one long sausage roll. Turn the sausage roll over so that the joined edge is underneath. Repeat with the remaining pastry rectangle and sausage. Brush the 2 long sausage rolls with the beaten egg and sprinkle over the linseeds. Transfer the sausage rolls to a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper and leave to rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the parsnip soup. Melt half the butter in a large saucepan and once it starts to foam, add the leek, celery, onion, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, coriander seeds and peppercorns. Season with salt and pepper and sauté over a medium heat for about 10 minutes or until the leek and onion are golden brown and soft. Add the roasted partridge bones to the pan and use a wooden spoon to break them up gently. Add the water and bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and simmer gently, uncovered, for 20 minutes, skimming off any scum from the surface. Remove from the heat and pass the mixture through a fine sieve, discarding the vegetables, herbs and bones. Transfer the stock to a clean saucepan and keep warm over a low heat.
Rinse the large saucepan and return it to a medium heat with the remaining butter. When the butter starts to foam, add the parsnips and salt and pepper, then cover with a lid and sweat for about 10 minutes or until the parsnips are softened, stirring occasionally to prevent the parsnips taking on too much colour. Remove 3 tablespoons of the parsnips to use as a garnish and set aside until needed. Add the wine to the pan and let it bubble, stirring and scraping the base of the pan with a wooden spoon to deglaze it. Boil rapidly over a high heat for about 5 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by half. Add 800ml of the warm partridge stock and bring the soup to a gentle simmer. Cook, uncovered, over a low heat for about 15 minutes or until the parsnips begin to soften and break up.
Add the cream and bring back to the boil, then remove from the heat. Carefully transfer the soup to a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary, then pour the soup back into the pan, cover and set aside until you are ready to serve. Before serving, reheat the soup over a medium heat until piping hot.
To cook the sausage rolls, preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6 and line 2 baking trays with non-stick baking paper. Cut the sausage rolls into 3cm lengths and place them on the prepared trays, leaving at least a 3cm gap between each one. Bake in the oven for 20–25 minutes or until cooked, risen and golden brown. Remove from the oven and transfer the sausage rolls to a wire rack, then leave to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
While the sausage rolls are resting, reheat the soup as directed. Heat the rapeseed oil in a small, non-stick frying pan, add the reserved parsnip garnish and sauté over a medium heat for about 5 minutes or until golden and heated through. Serve the hot soup in bowls, garnish with the sautéed parsnips and serve with the hot sausage rolls.
Cool any leftover sausage rolls, then store them in an airtight container in the fridge and use within 3 days.