This soup is a classic example of the value of having diverse ingredients in a kitchen and the flexibility to use them. By late afternoon on the day I made this, I had no idea what I would do for dinner, and basically made this up as I went along. It came out so well, and so unique, that it’s worth writing up. Even Joanna, who really doesn’t like turnips, enjoyed this soup. It doesn’t look like much, but has a fascinating mix of flavors.
1-2 lb turnips
1-2 lb potatoes (purple add a nice color)
2-4 Tbl butter
2+ cups water
1/4 cup apple cider
2-4 Tbl vinegar (tomato or cider)
Herbs if desired (I used parsley & oregano)
Salt & pepper
Crumbled/grated strong cheese, like sharp white cheddar or Goatsbeard Walloon
Chop the turnips & potatoes into roughly equal 1/2″ cubes. Toss with olive oil to coat thoroughly, spread on baking sheet, and roast at 450 for at least 40 minutes, stirring every 20. Depending on how large/small your chopped squares are, it may take more or less time. You want the potatoes and turnips soft and just starting to brown, but not burned or dessicated on the outside.
When you think you have 20 minutes to go, finely chop the leeks and start sauteing them in the melted butter. Stir them regularly and let them cook until very soft, 20 minutes or more. In the meantime, finely chop the apples (peeling is optional; I like the texture of peels).
When the roasted veggies are soft and the leeks are nicely cooked, combine those into a blender and coarsely puree. You will likely need to add water to create enough liquid for the blending to work; I suspect veggie or meat broth would work, too, but there are a lot of flavors in this already. Keep it as thick as possible.
Pour into a soup pot and add apples, cider, vinegar, and herbs to taste. Simmer until the apples are soft. I like the texture the cooked apple chunks left in the soup, but if you want a smoother result, add the apples when you blend the veggies. Add salt & pepper to taste.
Serve with a hearty topping of crumbled or grated strong cheese, which mixes in and melts to add a final flavor.
This could easily be adapted in any number of ways to fit the needs of a kitchen, but the basic result is a thick, hearty winter soup based in the flavors of the season. Let me know if you try it.