Thursday, February 14, 2008

Hot Lovin' Golden Turnip Soup with Blue Cheese

Yeah, that's right, we just said "hot lovin'" and "turnip" in the same sentence, and you know why? Because we used golden turnips, not the nasty storage turnips, and those are the best Valentine's Day present we can think of. (Well, if your sweetheart has a blog about kale. Otherwise, try some...carnations?)

Golden turnips are milder than their cranky old counterparts and pair nicely with the pungent blue cheese and the brightness of the fresh herbs. If you don't have chervil, try lovage or parsley (stay away from more distinctive herbs like mint, basil and dill). We happened upon some fresh green garlic and threw it in, but you can substitute 2-3 cloves of regular garlic if green garlic isn't in season yet where you are. We also served this with blue cheese toasts, but you could just sprinkle blue cheese on top of the soup. (If you want to go the blue-cheese-toasts route, get out your special gourmet apron, because you'll have to put some blue cheese on some bread and pop it in the toaster oven).

We suggest using the time while the turnips are in the oven to make your own vegetable stock from the turnip/green garlic/onion/herb trimmings and anything else you've accumulated this week.

6 golden turnips, scrubbed and diced
1 stalk of green garlic, chopped
OR 2-3 cloves of roughly chopped regular garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, sliced into half-moons
4 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup minced fresh chervil
crumbled blue cheese to taste
a few slices of bread (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. In a 9-by-13-inch pan, combine the turnips, garlic, olive oil and salt. Roast for 45 minutes to an hour, until turnips start to brown.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium-sized cast-iron skillet or frying pan. Add the onions, stir to coat, reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and browned, probably at least 30 minutes (and it'll be even more delicious if you let them cook until the turnips are done).

Transfer turnips and onions to your blender, add 2 cups of stock and chervil, and blend until very smooth, continually adding more stock until you reach your desired thickness. Serve with a sprinkle of crumbled blue cheese or with blue cheese toast (again: put some blue cheese on some bread and toast).

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