Turnip Soup

This remarkably simple, and remarkably comforting recipe has always been a part of our holiday meals.  When she first started making it, my grandmother used to enjoy quizzing unsuspecting guests as to what the star ingredient was in the soup.  It is so mellow, and balanced, and not cluttered with leek or potato, that it is actually hard to discern that it is simply the lowly turnip.

As a kid we would slurp down bowl after bowl of this creamy winter favorite.  It was always present at cold weather dinner parties thrown by my parents, as surprisingly, it was a safe bet to please a large crowd.  Again, not attributes, if I think about it now, I would consider assigning to this particular vegetable.

But try this one!  It is wonderful, and makes me joyfully lug home heavy bags of turnips (white or purple) as soon as they arrive at the farm stands.  It is a warm and soulful start to most of our Thanksgiving meals together.

by Catie Schwalb

Serves 6

5 TBS Butter
5 TBS Flour
6 cups Chicken Stock, or Vegetable Stock or water
1 medium or 3-4 small Turnips, white or purple, peeled and cubed, yielding about 3 cups
1/4 tsp White Pepper
Salt, to taste
1 cup Milk or Cream

Melt butter in heavy bottomed soup pot. Sprinkle flour over melted butter and stir to combine. Gradually whisk in stock until all incorporated. Add cubed turnip, bring to a gentle boil, and then reduce to a simmer until turnip is tender.

Puree soup either in a blender or with an immersion blender. Return to low heat, add milk or cream, and then season with salt and white pepper.

Soup can be made up to 3 days in advance and reheated before serving.
Shown below garnished with crispy shoestring carrots and turnip chips.

2 responses to “Turnip Soup”

  1. Zanthe says:

    hey! This looks amazing and I’m planning to make it today 🙂
    Just wondering how you made your beautiful garnish, or what other (easier?) garnish you might suggest?
    And I LOVE the blog. Really inspiring! I think you’re living the life I wish I had…

  2. Catie says:

    Hi Zanthe!!
    The garnish was made by thinly slicing turnips (you could certainly use potato, sweet potato, or any root vegetable) on a mandoline, and making thin carrot strips but running a vegetable peeler down the side of a carrot, patting them off with a paper towel to remove excess moisture, and then quickly frying in 2″ of peanut or canola oil on the stove heated to 350. Drain in a paper towel.

    Other, less labor intensive, garnishes:
    -Fresh Chives: either cut in small1″ lengths, or minced
    -Quick fried whole sage leaves.
    -A thin round of a baguette, brushed with olive oil, rubbed with garlic and toasted lightly in the oven. Could be topped with a little melted gruyere.
    -A light swirl of really good, bright green, olive oil
    -or this herb-parmesan crisp I wrote about a few months back (http://pitchforkdiaries.com/2010/02/28/winter-chicken-noodle-soup-with-dill-parmesan-crisps/)

    Just adjust the thickness of the soup (more turnip, less liquid), if you are going to use a garnish that is a lot heavier, so it won’t sink. Enjoy!! And a very happy thanksgiving to you!

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Catie Baumer Schwalb is a chef, food writer and photographer, who splits her life between the city and the country. Not too long ago Catie was a New York City based actress and playwright for more than a decade. She has her Master of Fine Arts from the National Theater Conservatory, and her Grand Diplôme in classic culinary arts from the French Culinary Institute in New York City. ... Read More

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