Leek and turnip soup with potatoes and chard

December 12, 2011 at 1:56 pm (B plus (3.5 stars, like a lot), Cruciferous rich, Peter Berley, Quick weeknight recipe, Starches, Winter recipes)

This is a pretty simple soup recipe from the winter section of Peter Berley’s cookbook Fresh Food Fast.  The unusual addition is 1 tsp. of whole caraway seeds, which are sauteed with butter, garlic, and two leeks.  Then you add turnips, potatoes, water, and salt.  The final step is to add a bunch of roughly chopped Swiss chard and lots of pepper.

Berley often calls for caraway seeds in his recipes, but usually I feel like the amount is so small that I can’t really taste them.  But in this recipe the caraway really comes through.  Berley says that he includes the caraway because (like cumin and fennel) it helps us digest sulfurous vegetables like turnips.  I don’t know about that, but I really like the combination of the flavors. It reminds me a lot of the cruciferous caraway cumin soup, which is also based on a Berley recipe.  The main difference is that this soup is chunky, not pureed.  Also this recipe calls for chard, which added a nice green color and more textural contrast.

I don’t normally like turnips or rutabagas that much, but I quite enjoyed both these soups.  For this soup, though, the one problem was that it seemed a little greasy (from 3 Tbs. of butter).  But we tried only using 2 Tbs. of butter and by the time the leeks were sauteed there wasn’t enough free fat left to saute the garlic.  Maybe we need to start with only 1 tablespoon and then add the second tablespoon with the garlic.  Also, the broth in this recipe seemed a little watery tasting.  Maybe it would be better to use vegetable broth, or at least a bouillon cube?  It needed something.  Derek suggested sausage or bacon or something like that.  Maybe a little smoked paprika?  I wouldn’t want to muddy up the clean flavors though.

Berley suggests serving this soup with grilled gruyere and red onion sandwiches, but I think that combination is too starchy.  Potatoes and turnips and bread? I would instead serve the grilled cheese with a salad or less starchy soup (maybe tomato), and serve this soup with something higher in protein.  Derek suggested making it with Berley’s barbecued tempeh.

Rating: B+
Derek: ??


  1. Learning to like new foods « The captious vegetarian said,

    […] in a radish sort of way–nothing too intense.  Then in December I made Peter Berley’s Leek and Turnip Soup, and really liked it.  The final puzzle piece fell into place this week when I roasted a bunch of […]

  2. Miso tahini soup with turnips and delicata squash | The captious vegetarian said,

    […] turnip fan, and I don’t have so many go-to recipe. I like them raw in salads, in soup (with leeks, potatoes, and chard), and in stews (like this tagine or Thai curry).  But I had one last delicata squash from the […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: