seasonal soups: what to do with.. TURNIPS?

i don’t always know what do with what’s in season. have you ever seen a fennel root at the market? enough said.

last year i wrote a post about turnips and how cooking them has long confused me. i intrepidly ventured into turnip-land last year and i’m back with a couple more ideas.  mostly i’m back because i’d forgotten how to cook them again and had to re-read my post.

a few thoughts on turnips:

turnips make fabulous winter soups, as long as you pair with at least one another root, and use spices you love.

with turnips, or any root vegetables really, use one rule: when in doubt, smother with olive oil, salt, pepper, and roast. (note: roasting preserves more flavor than boiling; when making soup, i opt for roasting over boiling.)

my turnip soup combos are below– each makes one big pot of soup, servings will vary. for all of these soups, i used the following method:

turnip soups method

-roast vegetables in a pan, covered, with olive oil and salt and pepper at 375 for 30-40 mins (check and poke after 30).

-while the vegetables cool take out biggest pot you have. sautee half an onion in a sliver of butter and 2 tsp olive oil, add 1-2 tsp each of paprika, ginger, and dried basil; fennel seed is also a great flavor with turnips and other roots. once the onions are nicely browned, add the roasted vegetables and mash, with 3 cups of stock.

-once this begins to simmer, use a handheld or regular blender to liquify the soup. return the soup to the post and taste it. add salt and pepper and additional stock or water to your desired taste and consistency, and let simmer for five more minutes on med/low heat.

recipe: turnip soup (x 3!): 

1) sweet potato, potato, turnip, carrot and kale soup

1 sweet potato, 1 potato, 2 large turnips, 2 carrots, small bunch (5 leaves) kale, added into pot separately from roasted veggies
(star anise, fennel seed, herbes de provence)

2) butternut squash, turnip, and broccoli soup

1 half butternut squash, 2 turnips, 1/2 head broccoli
(cardamom, ginger, paprika, star anise)

3) green bean, turnip, roasted garlic and almond soup

1/2 pound green beans, 1 turnip, five cloves roasted garlic, 1/3 cup slivered almonds
(paprika, herbes de provence, thyme, garlic)

* for this last recipe, i made a stock out of the butternut squash scraps, and added leftover V8. let the almonds simmer in the stock for a bit before adding the roasted veggies.

stock and liquid: i usually end up mixing stock and water. soy milk burns easily, so if you want a creamier texture, try almond milk. apple cider is also a yummy option.

garnish and toppings: i find that sunflower seeds, popcorn, and diced avocado are great additions to these soups. that last two are tricks i picked up from my ecuadorian roommates once upon a time.

last year, a reader shared another turnip soup recipe with me — japanese turnips with miso. simple, light– a break from the heavier meals of the season. great for a detox/cleanse.

OTHER things to do with turnips? try turnip fries!  chop the turnips, toss in a few tablespoons of olive oil and season with fresh or dried herbs (paprika, cayenne, cinnamon, ginger, cajun seasoning). then bake them on a cookie sheet for 30 minutes at 400.



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