Tag Archives: turnips

Turnips Part Deux: This Time It’s Delicious

17 Jun

It’s odd, yet also fitting, that a turnip would awake me from my blogging slumber. The last time I posted, I triumphantly shared a tale of conquering the wild turnip, pureeing it into a healthy and tasty soup. But I wasn’t convinced. The color was a bit too brown and the taste was good but not “I can’t wait to make this again” good. Mainly I was happy to 1) have the turnips out of the house and 2) have created something that was farther toward the palatable side of the scale than the garbage disposal side.  When turnips made another appearance in our CSA (community supported agriculture) box, I, perhaps subconsciously, nudged them toward the back of the fridge. Turnips are hearty; there was no need to deal with them right away. Two weeks passed and another box arrived on our doorstep, brimming with vegetable surprises. And turnips. More turnips. Now I had five plump turnips staring me in the face, daring me to let them go bad. I spent the next few days brainstorming.  Soup seemed like the best option.  Soup is a forgiving canvas. There’s always something you can do–add a new flavor, add some water, add a topping–to recover from a misstep.   Once I had decided upon soup, my mind wandered east. My last turnip soup, while flavorful, just wasn’t that exciting.  It needed something to pump it up, something that would turn my turnip ambivalence to turnip appreciation.  After considering Indian curry and Thai curry, I continued east until I landed in Japan.  Turnips can have a sweet, delicate flavor and Japanese food is also delicately flavored.  It seemed like a good match. Plus, I could use miso and bonito to add a savory counterbalance and keep the soup firmly out of the sweet zone that root vegetables can often move into.  Finally, it gave me something to do with the small bag of fava beans we also received in the box–not enough to use as the main component in a dish but perfect to inhabit a wasabi puree garnish.

The result? A tasty turnip soup that I would happily make again.  Unlike the past two years, it seems that we’ll actually have a real summer so I don’t know when I’ll see turnips again. But when they come, I’ll be ready.

Turnip Miso Soup with Wasabi Puree

8 c light vegetable broth (you can use a box but look for one that’s lighter, more in the vein of a chicken stock)
1/3 heaping cup white miso
Handful bonito
Fish sauce to taste

5 turnips, peeled and cubed
1 small head cauliflower, cut into small chunks
Thumb sized piece of ginger, minced
One white onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp canola oil
3/4 c silken tofu
Few tablespoons mirin
2 tsp rice vinegar
Additional fish sauce to taste
Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

Wasabi Puree
1/2 c shelled fava beans
1 tsp canola oil
1 spring onion
3 cloves garlic
Few tablespoons silken tofu
Dash rice wine vinegar
Big squeeze wasabi paste (I used the prepared wasabi in the tube; you could also mix your own from powder)

Chives and sesame oil to garnish
Make the Broth
1) Bring broth to boil
2) Add bonito
3) Turn off heat and steep 5 min and then strain
4) Mix miso with bit of water and add to broth
5) Add few dashes of fish sauce to taste and season with fresh pepper (add salt as well if you think it needs it, though fish sauce is quite salty)
6) Set broth aside

Make the Soup
1) Sauté ginger, garlic and onion in 1 tbsp canola oil til softened
2) Add cubed turnips and chopped cauliflower
3) Season with salt and pepper
4) Add broth, bring to boil
5) Lower to simmer and let cook 30 min
6) Take the soup off the heat and let it cool a bit, then puree it in a blender with the silken tofu
7) Put back in pot, season with mirin, rice wine vinegar, fish sauce, salt and pepper

Make the Wasabi Puree
1) Sauté garlic and onion in 1 tsp canola oil
2) When softened, add the shelled fava beans and stir to coat
3)Add a bit of water, cover and simmer 10 min
4) Uncover and simmer 10 more min; add more water if needed
5) Take off heat and purée with wasabi, tofu and dash rice wine vinegar
6) Season with salt and pepper

Top soup with dollops of fava bean purée, chives and bit of sesame oil

Note: Fava beans only show up in the spring so you could try something else for the puree in other season. I think avocado would be good as long as you add some liquid so it’s thin enough–if you wind up with a guacamole-like texture, it will sink to the bottom of your soup.


The Tale of Too Many Turnips

3 Jan

It’s the last night of our three-day New Year’s weekend and we decided earlier this afternoon that wanted to cook something fun–something that would allow us to hang around the kitchen, drinking wine (or even better yet, leftover champagne) and listening to Underground Garage on Sirius, all while purporting to be productive. The fridge was overflowing so I was sure there would be something exciting within. What I found was a lot of turnips. Three bunches to be exact–turnips that had survived our last CSA box and turnips that showed up in our latest shipment on Friday. The husband loves turnips and was excited by this turn of events. I don’t dislike turnips but I wasn’t nearly as intrigued as I would have been by a hidden stash of wild mushrooms or even a big bunch of kale (crazy, I know). We also had a bunch of potatoes (russet potatoes, small yellow-fleshed potatoes and red potatoes) courtesy of both our CSA box and overzealous Chanukah shopping, some giant leeks (CSA) and a plethora of yellow onions (again, Chanukah shopping). The answer to our turnip bounty or predicament, depending on who you asked, seemed to be soup. The onions would provide a good balance to the sweetness of the turnips and the potatoes, some heft and creaminess, helped along by some goat milk. The goat milk appeared as the result of a dinner party bread pudding and also needed a home. We would have way too much soup for two people but the leftovers could sustain us through a long week of being attached to our desks. And the best thing about soup is that it’s extremely conducive to drinking leftover champagne, half of bottle of which happened to be in the fridge, nestled alongside the turnips. Here’s what resulted from our holiday soup-venture:

Four Onion and Turnip Soup

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 cups mixed leeks, shallots and yellow onions, diced
  • 3 heaping cups peeled and cubed turnips
  • 3 heaping cups cubed yellow-fleshed potatoes (we didn’t peel ours but you may want to for a more appealing soup color)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (add more broth and/or water if needed)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup milk (I used goat)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 small bunches green onions, chopped
  • 1 handful of fennel fronds, chopped
  1. Heat the butter and oil in a soup pot over low to medium heat until the butter starts to foam
  2. Add the mixed onions, shallots and leeks and cook, stirring often, until the onion mix is softened but not browned
  3. Season the onion mix and then add the turnips and potatoes, stirring to coat them with the onions, olive oil and butter
  4. Cook the veggie mix for about 5 minutes and then add the broth and the wine
  5. Bring the soup to boil and then turn down to a simmer
  6. Cook the soup until the vegetables are soft and you can easily squish a potato on the side of the pot with your spoon (this will take about 30-45 minutes, depending on how young and tender your veggies are)
  7. Using a blender, puree the soup with the milk (if you have an immersion blender you can do this right in the pot–just be sure to take it off the heat first)
  8. Return the soup to the pot if you’ve used a blender and season to taste; reheat gently if necessary
  9. Heat the additional two teaspoons of olive oil (extra virgin is preferable) in a small saucepan
  10. Add the green onions and fennel fronds and saute just until they soften, then season to taste
  11. Serve the soup topped with the green onion/fennel garnish

p.s. If you’re feeling ambitious and/or too lazy to go to the store (as in my case), try making this easy oat and herb bread to go along with your soup. It comes from my first-ever and still-beloved vegetarian cookbook, Quick Vegetarian Pleasures by Jeanne Lemlin, and it’s yummy, healthy (especially if you sub in whole wheat pastry flour for the white flour) and pretty much impossible to screw up.

Herb Oat Bread from Quick Vegetarian Pleasures

  • 1 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup unbleached flour (I replaced this with whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour (I used 1/4 cup unbleached flour–you could probably use all whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/8 teaspoon crumbed dried rosemary
  • Note: I had various fresh herbs (sage, rosemary, thyme, basil) leftover from holiday cooking so I used about a handful of minced fresh herbs instead
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 1/4 cups plain low-fat yogurt
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F; butter and flour a 9×5 inch loaf pan (I used parchment paper instead)
  2. Place the oats in a blender or food processor and grind until almost powdery; pour into a large bowl and mix in the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and herbs
  3. In a small saucepan, combine the oil and honey and heat until just blended; remove from the heat and stir in the yogurt and beaten eggs
  4. Pour in the flour mixture and stir until just evenly moistened (do not over-beat); scrape into the prepared pan
  5. Bake 40 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean (if the top of the bread begins to darken before it finishes cooking, lay a sheet of foil over the top of the pan and bake until done)
  6. Cool on a wire rack 10 minutes before removing from the pan; cool completely before slicing