Monday, April 29, 2013

Spring Turnip Greens Soup

Turnip greens soup is one of my favorite spring guilty pleasures. I like the soup so much, I'm surprised it didn't appear on my Soup Project because I have to have it every spring. I usually make it when I return from the market because you should eat turnip greens within a day.  They wilt quickly in the refrigerator no matter how you store them. 

Yesterday I made this soup as a main dish for dinner by adding sauteed vegetables.  I like cornbread with soup, and we had a huge salad on the side.


In Roots by Diane Morgan, I learned turnips belong to the mustard family along with horseradish, rutabaga and radish.  She wrote that turnips are also one of the the world's oldest domesticated crops.  They certainly don't look that old in person, but then maybe I've been watching to many old Marx Brothers movies.

More people seem familiar with the purple top turnips we see in winter. They're more starchy than spring turnips. 

Spring turnips taste like mild radishes.  As far as nutrition goes, Diane Morgan says turnips are low in calories and  the greens have lots of vitamin A, C and K and also contain calcium, folate, and potassium. Turnips are almost like a different vegetable in the spring. The roots are super mild and the greens are a little spicy hot.  If you find wasbina (a green that tastes like wasabi), definitely get some and add it.  Wow!  This soup was amazing with the flavors kicked into high gear.   

Turnip greens have a mild kick and they don't have bitter tones that characterize dandelions and mizuna.  They are almost always attached to their roots, which is an indication of freshness because the leaves are delicate and don't last long after they're picked.

Diane Morgan's book Roots

The soup

I don't follow an exact recipe for this soup.  All I know for sure is it involves steamed pureed turnip greens. And I usually consider five flavors before I begin--salty, sweet, sour, bitter and spicy(hot).  Rockridge Orchards apple cider vinegar fit the bill for sour.

My Cooking Assistant insists on participating in the photo shoot.  He's not sure which end to eat.

I hope you like my favorite soup.  Don't keep it a secret if you do.  Share and spread the good news about turnip greens.

Turnip Greens Soup
(Serves 2)

1 small onion, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon powdered hot pepper (like cayenne)
1 bunch spring turnips with greens, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 to 2 tablespoons apple cider
1 cup rice or soy milk
2 tablespoon kuzu, ground into powder
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon agave nectar
Sea salt to taste
2 cups roughly chopped sauteed vegetables (asparagus, peppers, onion, summer squash, mushrooms)
Croutons (optional)
Parmesan cheese (optional)

1. Saute onions in oil.  When soft, add garlic powder, hot pepper and the stem end of the turnip greens.
Stir and cook until green stems soften.  Stir in apple cider, then add  the remaining greens.  Cover and steam until greens soften.  

2. Combine soy milk and kuzu.  Blend into the greens with apple cider and agave nectar.   Heat over medium heat until soup begins to thicken.   Remove from heat.  Puree 1 cup at a time.  Return to pan and add sauteed vegetables.

3. Remove from heat.  Serve with croutons and Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Caution: This soup is higly addictive

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