Turnip Soup

Turnip Soup
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turnip soup
Will turnip soup be the one?

On Wednesday, we showed you that we picked up a bunch of turnips as part of our CSA share. And, we’ll admit it right here: turnips are hard. At least for us. We just have a difficult time using turnips in a dish that we like. Oh, sure, we can hide them well enough by including one or two in a batch of mashed potatoes, or a few in a gratin dish in which they’re smothered in cheese (what isn’t good smothered in cheese?), but turnips as the main ingredient? That’s where we have problems.

They just have that funny, well, turnip-y taste, which we don’t like. But we keep thinking that maybe we haven’t found a recipe that allows their turnip-ness to shine, so we try new recipes, with the hopes that we can find some way to eat up a batch of turnips without remarking about how it tastes like turnip. This week, it was turnip soup, which we found here.

Serves 4.

Turnip Soup

Turnip Soup


  • 2 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup diced onions
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 pound turnips, trimmed and diced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 potato, peeled and diced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup finely chopped turnip greens
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Dried chervil or parsley (for garnish)

Abbreviated Instructions

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, and turnips, and cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until onions are tender.

Add wine, and cook until reduced by half.

Add potatoes and broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until potatoes are fork-tender.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet, cook greens in a small amount of butter until wilted. Season with salt and set aside.

Once potatoes are tender, purée soup and return to pan. Add turnip greens and cream, and bring to a simmer.

Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately, garnished with chervil.


Ingredient discussion:

Use vegetable broth that doesn’t have added salt, if possible. After all, if the broth is too salty, you’ll have a hard time removing the salt. Whereas, you can always add salt. For the turnips, we used naturally-grown (read organic), since that’s what we get from the farm. Since some of the greens go into the soup, you might want to consider using organic, too. The potato is peeled, solely because the soup will be puréed later, and peels don’t always purée well, so use what you have, preferably a starchy potato such as a russet. For wine, we use a kind we like to drink, which is Barefoot Pinot Grigio. Cream: if possible, use heavy cream for a thicker texture (preferably organic, since it won’t contain seaweed as a thickener).

Procedure in detail:

mise en place
You’ll want a bit of greens for color in the soup. We used about six leaves.

Prepare. Spend a bit of time washing and chopping. Dice the turnips into cubes about 1/2-inch on a side so they’ll all cook in about the same time. Same with the potato. Mince the garlic and chop the onion. Good. Everything’s ready.

cooking turnips
Cook the turnips right along with the garlic and onions.

Saute vegetables. Melt the 2 tablespoons of butter in a large (3-quart) saucepan over medium heat. When it starts to foam, add the onion, garlic, and turnips. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender, about 3 to 5 minutes.

adding wine
Wine always adds flavor to dishes, not only through its flavor, but by releasing other alcohol-soluble flavors.

Add wine. Pour in the wine. If it’s late enough in the day for you, feel free to have a glass. We made this in the mid-morning, so all the wine went right into the pot. Of course, we’re saving the wine in the bottle for later. Cook until the wine is reduced by about half, about 5 minutes.

adding vegetable broth
Our broth was frozen. This year we’re trying to make vegetable broth weekly with all the clean trimmings that we get.

Add potatoes and broth. Stir in the potato pieces and the broth, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the potato pieces are fork-tender, about 20 minutes.

cooking greens
Quickly sauté up the greens in a bit of butter, season with salt, then set aside to add to the soup later.

Cook greens. You remember those greens? Yes, those still lying on the cutting board. While the soup is simmering, take out a small skillet and cook the greens until wilted in a teaspoon of butter, about 5 minutes. Season with a bit of kosher salt, then set aside.

pureeing soup
Once the potatoes are fork tender, purée the soup, in batches if necessary, until smooth.

Working in batches, if necessary, purée the soup in either a blender or a food processor. If you have one of those immersion blenders, that might be your best bet. Once the soup is smooth, transfer back to the saucepan.

pureed soup
A minute or so in the food processor and we have cream soup.
adding cream
Stir in the cream, and season with salt and pepper, as needed.

Add greens and cream. Stir in those wilted greens and the cream and bring back to a simmer.

Season. Once the soup is nice and hot, taste, and add salt and pepper as needed.

turnip soup
Even turnip soup is nice to take off the winter chill.

Serve. Ladle into bowls, and garnish with the chervil or parsley, if for no other reason than it looks nice.

It still tastes like turnips. If you like turnips, this will be a great way to have them, but, if not, you’ll be eating turnip-flavored soup. That said, it was better than some of the other ways that we’ve had turnips (marinated and roasted with other root vegetables, or even just turnip chunks in soup), but you can still taste that bitter, medicinal taste of turnips. The original recipe called for small turnips, and that would be better, but lacking that, we’d suggest increasing the amount of potatoes, making more of a potato-turnip soup. There we go, hiding those turnips in another dish again. Overall, we have to give this soup three stars.

Worth the trouble?

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