Monday, November 14, 2011

Turnip soup with greens

After an unbearably long, not-so-happy day spent at UCSF, I was craving comfort and just wanted to cuddle on the couch wrapped in the green fuzz monster a blanket, watch a movie and sip a bowl of piping hot soup. There is something wonderful about homemade soup. It soothes and comforts in a way that soup from a can or a restaurant or a cafe just can't compare.

My CSA box from Farm Fresh to You contained a bunch of baby turnips with their bright leafy greens still attached. After my success using beet greens, I couldn't wait to use the turnip greens in a dish. The last time I had turnips in my CSA box I made a carrot soup spiced with curry and cumin and a few turnips added to the base and also made roasted turnips and carrots with gremolata. We loved loved loved the carrot soup and I would absolutely make it again, but I only had a small bunch of carrots to work with this time.

So I decided to make a quick turnip soup. Since I only had 1 bunch of baby turnips, I threw in a medium potato and, since turnips and carrots seem to have a natural affinity for each other, I added half a bunch of small carrots.

I simmered the thinly sliced turnips, potato, and carrots with onions, garlic, fresh thyme, and a bay leaf in vegetable broth for about half an hour. Then I pureed the vegetables using a hand held immersion blender (seriously, how did I go so long without one) and seasoned with salt, pepper, red cayenne pepper and several generous pinches of nutmeg. I wanted something creamy but on the healthier side, so I added milk, stirred in the turnip greens and simmered the soup for about ten minutes. I served it hot topped with shavings of parmesan.

The turnip soup turned out so wonderfully delicious, and we couldn't wait to have leftovers the next night! I loved the herb/spice combination of bay leaf, thyme and nutmeg and along with the subtle heat of the red cayenne pepper. The carrots certainly added a touch of sweetness to the mellow turnips and the parmesan shavings added a perfect salty, savory finish. (I imagine prosciutto or bacon would be equally delicious in this soup.)

Update: I made this soup a second time and this time I simmered the soup with a parmesan rind to add an earthy, savory flavor to the soup. Amazing!

Turnip soup with greens
1 bunch turnips, leafy greens attached
1 medium potato, peeled, halved and sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
2 large garlic cloves
1 bay leaf (dried is OK)
1 tsp thyme leaves
4 cups vegetable broth
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
a few generous pinches of nutmeg
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 1/4 cup milk (whole)
*optional parmesan rind
parmesan for shaving, use a vegetable peeler

Remove stems and roots of the turnips, reserving the leafy greens. If using baby turnips, there is no need to peel the turnip, just halve and slice into 1/2" pieces. For thicker skinned turnips, peel before slicing. Slice the leafy greens into 1/2" ribbons and set aside.

In a dutch oven, melt 1 tbsp butter in 1 tbsp olive oil. Add onion, garlic and 1 tbsp water and cover and let stew. Add thinly sliced turnips and potato, bay leaf and thyme leaves, cook and stir for one minute. Add vegetable broth and parmesan rind, if using, and bring to a simmer, cover and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Puree with an immersion blender. Or let cool, and puree in batches in a blender or food processor. Bring to a simmer, season with nutmeg and red cayenne pepper.  Add milk and turnip greens, bring to a simmer for about 8 to 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Ladle into bowls and garnish with several shavings of parmesan.


  1. What else is a dutch oven so perfect for?? :)

  2. Ever since I got it, I have been making more soups! Too bad it isn't heart shaped :)


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