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February 22, 2012 / An Anthology of Clouds

In season: French Turnip Soup with Crispy Sage (recipe)

I discovered the previously uncharted waters of the turnip this winter thanks to my Riverford Farm cookbook, which organizes its recipes by what you’re likely to find at the farmer’s market in a given month. Reading it (obsessively) has given me an experiential understanding of what’s in season, and thus as an added benefit, a guide to what’s likely to be affordable, etc. In the winter, this means the turnip. Or, by its Brit name, the swede, or its French name un navet. (There are some subtle difference between the turnip and the rutabega, but I do not know them.)

The recipe I’m about to share, however, is not from Riverford, but is from my new, beloved Bonne Femme cookbook. This soup was incredibly easy and addictively flavorful. I have been craving it again ever since I made it. There’s something winey, rich and pungent about the turnip flavor that really gets into your blood on a cold day. Mmm…

1 tbs unsalted butter
1 med size onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 large garlic cloves, minced
4 med sized turnips, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
1 med sized russet potato, peeled and diced (about 1 cup)
salt and pepper to taste
3 cups chicken stock (I use Better Than Boullion)
1 tbs olive oil
4 large fresh sage leaves
1/2 cup half-and-half (I used a splash of whole milk, to no ill effect)
1 tbs maple syrup (I used 3)
2 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled (I skipped it)

1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until tender but not brown, 4 to 5 min. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds more. Stir in the turnips, potato, and salt and pepper. Add the chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pan, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a small skillet and fry the sage leaves until crisp, about 1 min. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a paper towel to drain.

3. When the vegetables are tender, allow the soup to cool slightly. Puree. (So simple if you have an immersion blender. Otherwise, in batches…) Stir in the half and half and the maple syrup…. and you’re done. Season to taste.

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One Comment

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  1. ivalleria / Feb 28 2012 2:04 am

    I’m commenting on my own soup. I made this last night minus the cream and the bacon, and x3 from the recipe, and it is simply ridiculous how good it is. x3 is not too much.

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