Turnip Soup with Gruyere Croutons

serves 6

SOUP:

4-6 medium turnips, 1 1/2 to 2 pounds (optional: including greens)
3 small potatoes, quartered (peeled if you like)
2 tablespoons butter
2 leeks, white part only, thinly sliced (I subbed 1 small yellow onion)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup chopped parsley
4 thyme sprigs or 1/4 teaspoon dried
salt and pepper
6 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup cream or milk

NOTE: When using turnips not at their peak, thickly peel them and cut them into rounds and blanch for 1 minute in boiling salted water. Drain and rinse. This ensures their sweetness. I’ve done this with really large turnips (each weighing almost a pound) and the soup was still great. If the turnips are nice and young, you can just scrub them hard or thinly peel them. Cut the turnips into chunks (quarter small ones) before adding to the soup.

Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the turnips, potatoes, leeks or onion, garlic, parsley and thyme. I like this kind of recipe – just toss everything in a pot!

 Cook for 5 minutes then add 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer partially covered about 25 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Puree all or part of the soup (I did all and it was great) and stir in the cream.

If you like the greens you can add them to the finished soup. I have not tried this as the first time I made the soup the greens were yellow and tough. It was so good without them that I haven’t ventured to try out the greens! While the soup is cooking, chop the greens into small pieces – there should be about 2 cups. Simmer them in salt water until they’re tender, then drain and add them to the finished soup.

CROUTONS:

1/2 cup Gruyere
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon soft butter
a pinch of pepper
12 toasted baguette slices

Mound a little of the topping on each baguette slice and broil until the cheese begins to bubble and melt. Place in the soup or on the side. These can also be made with all sorts of different cheeses. (I used some goat havarti that had just finished aging in the cheese cave…yum!)

Enjoy!


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