Saturday, February 13, 2010

Purple-topped Turnip & Potato Chowder
I pulled these turnips from my garden last week (I pulled one for my lunch today, too, but had to dig under some snow to find it!) and decided to adapt a recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks: Greene on Greens, by Bert Greene (1984). His recipe, called "Mixed Turnip Chowder," called for both rutabaga and turnips in addition to potatoes. I haven't tried growing rutabagas yet, so I just used double the purple-topped turnips in my soup, and made a few other minor changes as well.
Bert Greene said of his version, "One of the best soups I have ever tasted in my life..." and that gave me the courage to serve my version to my family one chilly night recently. My husband had lately informed me that people only grow turnips for the greens- nobody likes turnips. But I like turnips, and so, I set out to prove him wrong.
I am happy to report that I succeeded! He actually thought my turnip chowder was tasty! So here is (approximately- all of my recipes are approximately!) my recipe. I hope you'll try it, too! Even if you have to buy your turnips.
Turnip-Potato Chowder
2 Tbs unsalted butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large rib celery, also finely chopped
a bit of fresh parsley if you have it, chopped small
4 medium to large sized turnips, diced into pretty small cubes
3 large potatoes, lightly peeled (I like to leave some skin) and diced
1 quart, maybe more, of chicken broth (mine was made with onions & celery)
add later: salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
a generous sprinkle of mace
Start by melting the butter at medium heat in your soup pot, and then cook the onion for a minute or two before adding the celery. After another minute or two, add the parsley, turnips, and potatoes. Stir till it's all nicely mixed and the last additions are at least starting to feel the heat (a minute or so), and then add your chicken stock. Bring up to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are just tender (not mushy).
Take about half of the vegetables from the broth and put them into your blender or food processor along with about 1 cup of the broth. BE CAREFUL WHEN YOU PUT HOT FOOD IN YOUR BLENDER! (On my blender, I loosen the little cap on the lid, which allows steam to escape without causing the somewhat explosive reaction brought about by agitating hot molecules under pressure.)
Blend a minute or so until it's fairly smooth, then put it back into your pot, add salt, pepper, and mace, and let it sit for a few minutes. (On my stove, I turn it off, but my stove holds the heat for a while.)
Yum! And here is another bonus- according to Bert Greene, a 3/4 portion of turnips has only 30 calories but is packed with 39 mg of calcium, 30 mg of phophorus, and 268 mg of potassium!