Monday, 13 September 2010
When I was a child, one of my favourite vegetables was swede. (Or rutabaga as it is known in some parts of the world. My mom always just called it turnip.)
Mom always added it to soups and stews . . . they added a beautiful flavour and almost sweetness, which I know is hard to believe, as they can come across as being somewhat bitter at times . . .
But long slow cooking brings out their natural sweetness and that is what I love most about them.
Every Thanksgiving and Christmas my mother would cook a huge pot of Swede and Potato, which would be mashed with lots of butter and cream. Oh my but that was my favourite part of the meal . . . well, next to the turkey that is! Oh and the stuffing! It surely took third place of honour though in the meal of all meals!
In Wales there is a national dish known as Punchnep, which is a buttery, creamy mash of swede and potatoes. I love it. It is the same thing that my mother always made . . . cept we just called it Turnip Mash. We didn't know it was exotic or Welsh or anything like that . . .
We just called it good.
This soup has all the same delightful flavours, along with the addition of leeks, which add an extra special something.
I guess it's like Punchnep amped up.
Whatever . . . it's good, very . . . very good!
*Swede and Potato Soup*
Serves 6 to 8
We love swede in this house, or rutabaga as it is known in other parts of the world. It makes a delicious soup when combined with leek and potato. Think of this as leek and potato soup kicked up a notch!
1 1/2 pounds (24 ounces) peeled swede, cut into cubes
1/2 pounds of peeled and cubed potato
the white parts of two large leeks, cleaned and thinly sliced
2 ounces unsalted butter
570ml of chicken stock (approx two cups)
570 ml of milk (approx two cups)
salt and pepper to taste
freshly ground nutmeg to taste
Melt the butter over low heat in the bottom of a large saucepan. Add the swede, potatoes and leeks. Stir them around in the butter to coat and then cover the saucepan. Put the lid on and allow to sweat over low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. (You can add a TBS or two of the stock if they start to stick.) At the end of 15 minutes, add the stock and the milk. Bring up to a simmer and then reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer gently for about 15 minutes, until the vegetables are all fork tender. Remove from the heat and puree with a stick blender until smooth. Season to taste with salt, black pepper and nutmeg.
Ladle into hot soup bowls. Drizzle the top with a bit of double cream and float some toasted croutons on top. Garnish with some chives.