This comforting Autumn soup satisfies the seasonal yearning for earthy comforts with a hint of the sweet playfulness of the harvest. The dried apples give the soup an interesting textural quality, and intensify the flavor, adding sweet notes to the bright earthiness of the humble turnip.
Makes eight (8) 1½ cup servings
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups chopped leek
¾ cup chopped shallots
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 cups turnips, peeled and diced (about 1 ½ pounds)
½ cup dried apples, chopped
3 cups apple juice, fresh pressed with pulp
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
½ cup cream (optional)
Crème fraîche, to garnish (optional)
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Chopped fresh chives, to garnish
Nutmeg Cheddar Breadsticks (recipe below)
Melt butter in a large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add leeks, shallots, and nutmeg, and sweat for 3-4 minutes. Do not brown. Add turnips, dried apples, apple juice, and broth, and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until the turnips and apples are tender but not mushy, about 30-40 minutes.
Strain off about half the cooking liquid and reserve. Purée the solids and the remaining liquid with an immersion blender, or in batches in a food processor. Return the puree to the pot, add back the reserved cooking liquid a little at a time until the soup reaches the desired consistency, and heat through. If desired, stir in the cream, along with salt and pepper, to taste.
To serve, ladle into individual heated bowls or cups. Add a dollop of crème fraîche, if desired, and garnish with a sprinkle of chopped chives and freshly grated nutmeg, to taste. Serve with Nutmeg Cheddar Breadsticks (below).
Nutmeg Cheddar Breadsticks
Makes about eighteen (18) ¼-inch sticks, or a dozen ½-inch sticks
1 cup flour
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, lightly chilled
Olive oil, for brushing
3 teaspoons freshly ground nutmeg, divided
½ cup finely grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided
Preheat oven to 350° F.
In a food processor, pulse the flour, salt, baking powder, half the cheese, and half the nutmeg together until well combined. Cut in the butter by pulsing until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Leave the machine running, and slowly add 1/4 cup ice water until the dough comes together. If necessary, add another tablespoon or so of water.
[Chef’s Note: To grate a measured amount of nutmeg, grate over a sheet of parchment paper with a crease in it. Then lift the paper by the ends, and transfer into a container for measuring.]
Turn the ball of dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Smoothing it out, form it into a rectangle, and gently roll it out into a ¼-inch thick sheet. Cut the dough lengthwise into ¼-inch wide strips, or ½-inch wide strips if you prefer thicker sticks.
Gently roll each stick over a lightly floured surface. The sticks will naturally lengthen as you roll them, so be careful not to stretch them too thinly. Transfer to baking sheets, side by side, but not touching. Brush each stick lightly with olive oil and sprinkle the remaining grated cheese and nutmeg over the sticks.
[Chef’s Note: It helps to press the ends of each stick down gently onto the baking sheet so the sticks don’t curl up as they bake. You can also turn these simple sticks into twists by twisting the ends in opposite directions before placing on the baking sheet.]
Bake about 12-15 minutes, until firm and starting to show a little color. Transfer to racks to cool. The sticks can be stored in an airtight plastic bag or container for up to 3 days.
You can replace the nutmeg and cheddar in the recipe with the following spice and cheese combinations:
Cumin and Monterey Jack: 2 teaspoons cumin and ½ cup Monterey Jack
Rosemary and Montasio: 1 teaspoon finely minced fresh rosemary and ½ cup Montasio
Oregano and Manchego: 1 teaspoon dried oregano and ½ cup Manchego
Thyme and Pecorino: 2 teaspoons fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried), and ½ cup Pecorino
Recipe and photo by Mark Tafoya