Turnip Soup

I have lots of turnips still standing in the garden, the last of the winter vegetables. They are fantastic things, yellow and spicy and fresh after a long winter. My only gripe about turnips is finding ways to cook them. Usually I mash them with potatoes, or, more recently, I have been dicing them and roasting them for 20 minutes in olive oil and pepper. Tonight I discovered why I had found so little in the way of recipes in my books and on the web: the English think they are swedes, and the French and the Americans seem to think they are called Rutabagas. Anyway, no matter what they are called, tonight I tried out this soup. It is from Lindsey Bareham’s incomparable recipe book, ‘A Celebration of Soup’.

 INGREDIENTS:

  • 75g organic butter
  • 2-3 shallots, finely chopped,
  • A bunch of parsley
  • 450g diced turnip (about one large, or 2 small), home grown
  • salt and pepper
  • 1.1 litres of rich stock (I used some game stock, but ‘Marigold’ stock is fine
  • A pinch of saffron, if available (optional)
  • 100ml double cream

Method:

  • Heat the butter in a large pan, and soften the shallots in the butter for about five minutes
  • Add the parsley stalks (or dried herbs, if fresh parsley is scarce) and the turnip along with a pinch of salt. Stir, and make sure everything gets well coated in butter.
  • Cover the pan and simmer on low for about fifteen minutes.
  • At this stage, the turnip is tender and sweet and could be served as a vegetable dish in its own right.
  • For to make the soup, add the stock and saffron, bring to the boil, and simmer for 30 minutes
  • Blend the soup with a soup wand, and reheat.
  • To serve, whisk the cream with the finely chopped parsley, and swirl into the soup.

I served it with brown toast. However, you could make croutons, and the book suggests polenta chips: small slivers of cooked polenta, coated in oil and grilled to create a crunchy exterior. Very good indeed.

Kerala Lamb Stew with Turnip

Here’s a twist on local ingredients. It looked a little pale and would have been improved with the addition of green beans and carrots.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 900g lamb, diced
  • 4 tbsp veg oil
  • 2x7cm cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 10 cloves
  • 10 cardamom pods
  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped
  • 20 curry leaves (or 10 bay leaves)
  • 2 tsps grated fresh ginger
  • 1 lb potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 turnip, peeled and diced
  • you could add chopped carrots and green beans
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 can coconut milk

METHOD:

  • Put the oil in a large heavy pan, and set over a medium heat. When it is hot, add the cinnamon, peppercorns, cloves and cardamom, and let them sizzle for a few seconds.
  • Add the onion, and continue frying until it starts to turn light brown.
  • Add curry leaves and ginger, and after another minute, add the lamb and stir for a few minutes.
  • Add 1 litre of water bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 30 minutes
  • Add the potatoes and vegetables, salt and cayenne pepper, and simmer for a further 30 minutes, until the meat is tender.
  • Add the coconut milk, and thicken sauce to taste by squishing the potatoes a bit.

We just had this as it came. Rice or bread would be good, but we didn’t bother.