Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Thyme for Turnip and Spinach Soup

This is a creamed soup, but you can do it with milk, lactose-free milk, or soy milk to suit your diet. It’s hard to recommend that you skip the butter, since it makes it oh so delicious, but if you are vegan or lactose-intolerant then you can substitute olive oil for the butter. I recommend that you make your own vegetarian soup stock and use it in recipes such as this one. If you don’t have a good stock in your fridge, then you can use a half a bouillon cube, but this is a bit touch and go as it will impact the flavor in ways you can’t control.

Let me say a word about the turnips. Turnips can give soup a bitter flavor. To avoid that, be sure to peel all the skin off the turnips and select turnips that are small and tender. Use turnips that are about two inches across and not much larger. The tablespoon of sweetener in this recipe will help cut any bitterness, but the best way to get great flavor out of your turnips is to use the smaller ones.


8 young turnips (about two inches across) peeled and sliced (in ¼-inch slices)
9 oz. cleaned and trimmed spinach
1 cup water or vegetable soup stock (if you use water, you can add ½ a bouillon cube)
2 cups milk (lactose-free milk or plain soy milk will work)
3 tbsp. butter (or olive oil)
1 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. dry white wine
½ cup chopped onion or scallions (or 2 tbsp. onion powder)
2 tbsp. dried thyme or 3 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
½ tsp black pepper
salt to taste


Peel and slice the turnips. Wash the spinach greens so they are free of dirt and grit. It is not necessary to cut the spinach up as you will purée the soup before serving. Chop the onion or scallions.

Put the butter and water (or soup stock) into a pot and warm over low heat until the butter melts. Place the turnips and onions/scallions in the pot and cover it. Let this simmer for 7 minutes. Add all of the other ingredients. The spinach may not fit in your pot until it steams down so add it in increments (divide it into two or three bunches), covering the pot and allowing the spinach to wilt down, then adding more, until all the spinach is in the pot. The secret ingredient in this soup is the thyme: so simple, so tasty.

Cook the soup over a low heat until the turnips are soft enough for you to purée them easily in a blender. Be careful to keep the heat low enough so that you don’t burn the milk. Once the turnips are soft, put the soup in a blender and purée the mixture until creamy. If you have too much soup to fit in the blender all at once, simply do part of it and then do the rest (in two batches). Pour it back into the soup pot and warm it over low heat until piping hot. Garnish with chopped scallions or fresh thyme if you like.

Eat well, be well, live deliciously!

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