Turnip Potato Soup

Church book sales are a great way to pick up cookbooks at bargain prices. Ours was last weekend and we found the Food and Wine Magazine’s 1999 Annual Cookbook for a dollar. What a deal! Most of the recipes in the book look ridiculously complicated, taking hours of preparation and needing ingredients that one might have difficulty finding even at Whole Foods. This one however, is simply turnips, potatoes, onions, stock, and butter. Unassuming, but surprisingly and exceptionally good, especially considering that the main ingredient is turnips. Don’t get me wrong, I love turnips. I have found however that most people don’t. There’s something about the blend of flavors in this soup that take the edge off of the bitter turnip flavor and produces a thick and creamy soup, yet without any cream.

Turnip Potato Soup Recipe

The older the turnip, the longer it takes to cook and the more strongly flavored and bitter it is. Look for small, young turnips, they'll be only slightly bitter and actually quite sweet.

Ingredients

  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 pounds fresh, young turnips, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 pounds of Russet baking potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Salt
  • 6 Cups of chicken stock*
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley for garnish

*If cooking gluten-free, use homemade stock or gluten-free packaged stock.

Method

1 In a large, heavy, thick-bottomed pot, melt the butter on medium heat until it foams. When the butter foam subsides, add the onions and cook until translucent but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the sliced turnips and potatoes and stir to coat with the butter. Add 2 teaspoons of salt, cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the turnips and potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

2 Add the chicken stock and increase the heat to bring to a simmer. Cover partially and cook over medium heat until the turnips and potatoes are very tender, about 10 minutes.

3 Working in batches, purée the soup in a blender until completely smooth. Return the soup to the pot and season with salt and freshly grated nutmeg. Ladle the soup into shallow bowls and garnish with the parsley before serving.

Serves 8.

Recipe by Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock from Food and Wine Magazine's 1999 Annual Cookbook.

10 Comments

  1. Kelly P.

    We have tried Turnips everyway, and this is the way that we enjoy them the most. It is creamy without the use of cream, which is a plus!

  2. deborah78681

    I subscribe to a CSA and sometimes there is an abundance of turnips which is a challenge with my family. This is our fav way to use them. It’s delicious even if you don’t use the nutmeg (I forgot once) and use chopped fresh dill instead of basil. Great comfort food and an easy recipe.

  3. Justine

    Elise, do you think this recipe would be good with sweet potatoes as well (our CSA has given us LOADS of sweet potatoes and turnips right now and I’m trying to come up with ways to use them) or would that change the flavor too much in your opinion? Thanks!

    Hi Justine, I think that would be a major flavor change. Have no idea how that would turn out. If you do it, let us know! ~Elise

  4. cantrelld

    Tried this last night and loved it. I told my family it was potato soup and they loved it too! I was thinking it might be good with a little crumbled bacon on top next time.

  5. Miriam

    I made this last night and it came out quite bitter… Perhaps the turnips weren’t ripe enough? I didn’t like it :-(

    Sounds like they were overly ripe. The young turnips are the sweetest. ~Elise

  6. B.Swetnam

    What is not to like about a turnip! I eat them raw with a little salt and pepper. This is a great soup. I make it as is and swirl a little cream or sour cream over the top after it’s in the serving bowl, a sprinkle of crumbled bacon never hurts. Add a few cooked turnips to your mashed potatoes for a nice fresh taste. Please make sure to start with fresh young turnips.

  7. pam stewart

    I was wondering how you think parsnips or rutabaga would be inplace of the turnips?

    Rutabagas are a lot like turnips and I think could be used interchangeably. Parsnips are sweeter, more like carrots, I don’t think they would go as well. ~Elise

  8. Erika M.

    our turnips also must have been overly ripe, because i just had to garbage-disposal the entire batch of this as it was too bitter to eat. sad!

    is there any way to know beforehand if the turnips are new or not? we got them in our CSA share, so i assumed they’d be fine, but they weren’t.

  9. Erin

    I just made this soup and it is wonderful! I will admit that I added a little bit of cream (only because I already had it!). Thanks for sharing!

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