If you have been wondering why I haven’t been posting much lately… I’ve been drawn to reading a series of books. My ‘taste-tester’ read several of the DragonLance series as a kid and recently decided to start reading them again. Like an old friend, he is still enjoying the adventures the books contain. Since I enjoyed the Lord of the Rings series (yes, I read the books before the movies came out 😉 ), especially The Hobbit, and have played a couple of D&D role-playing type games before, he thought I’d enjoy reading them too. His old copies (circa 1984) were a bit worn and instead of ruining those old treasures, we’ve repurchased the series. As you can see from my ‘Currently Reading’ section in the right hand column of my blog, I’m on book two. And like most books, once you get near the end, things start to happen quickly and you don’t want to put the book down. So, no worries, I’ve just been spending a lot of my time in a fantasy land with dragons. 😉
I’ve been saying I would post about the turnip soup I made for some time now, for that I apologize. Usually a recipe post takes a bit of time, since I have to try to remember the steps I took and to tell them in a way that makes sense. But I forgot that I didn’t make many changes to this soup, so I can tell you my experience and show you pictures while linking back to the recipe’s source. 🙂
As you may recall, I had not had a turnip before, so I wasn’t sure what to make with one. I found several turnip soup recipes, but one in particular seemed to call my name, Chickpea and Turnip Stew with Ethiopian Spices from Susan over at Fat Free Vegan.
I looked over the list of spices and was intrigued by the combination. It was not a combination I would have done myself, which is exactly why I was drawn to this particular recipe. I also liked the idea that this soup could be made with a variety of root vegetables, so I do plan to make this soup again with potatoes and carrots, whether I have turnips or not. I also like that if you do not have the ingredients (or do not what to go through the trouble to make) for the berberé spice mixture, you can also “use curry powder or garam masala.”
I had a bit of trouble finding fenugreek. I searched on two different trips to whole foods, on the first trip I just looked around spice rack and the specialty cuisine isle but had no luck. On my next visit, I searched those areas again, but this time I asked an employee. Oddly he suggested the baby area and the health isle. Baby area?
I lucked into my friend, who works in the health isle, Shelly, working that day, so I asked her about fenugreek. She handed me a bottle of fenugreek in capsules.
(*sidnote: this is the general gist of our conversation 😉 )
nic: Uh… I’m going put this in soup.
Shelly: Oh, you can just open the capsules.
nic: Really? You don’t have it in any other form?
Shelly: No, sorry. 😐
nic: Why is fenugreek taken?
Shelly: Haha, for lactating women. (oh, that explains the baby area)
nic: *shock* Oh, maybe I should just omit it.
Shelly: Haha, it won’t make you lactate! Haha, (we had a good laugh for a few minutes 🙂 )… Let’s look up what else it’s used for… (she went over and opened up ‘The Herb Bible’)
(btw, the bottle says that it is used as a food that is soothing to the stomach)
Shelly: Fenugreek relieves congestion, reduces inflammation and fights infection. Fenugreek contains natural expectorant properties ideal for treating sinus and lung congestion, and loosens & removes excess mucus and phlegm. (ok, so I got that quote from here, but I do remember something about expectorant in our discussions.)
So to make a long story short, I bought the fenugreek in capsule form, intending to just pour the contents out.
The recipe calls for 12 spices, a tablespoon of each, except the cayenne (which is a teaspoon), to make the berberé spice mixture. I put all of these spices into a container and mixed, you actually only need 2-3 teaspoons of the mix for the soup. Personally, I did not put the salt, pepper, or cayenne into the mix so that I could adjust them as needed.
I made minor modifications, instead of vegetable broth I used ‘better than bouillon vegetable base’ and water (but you probably already knew that, since it is my ‘je ne sais quoi’). I did not have a pound of turnips so I added two yukon gold potatoes. I used 3 teaspoons of the berberé spice mixture. I added a handful of parsley. Also, I got a little happy with the immersion blender, so my soup is not as chunky as the original recipe.
As for turnips themselves? I tried a bit of the raw turnip as I was cutting it up, it reminded me of a sweeter radish. Radishes are not on my favorite list, but I thought I’d give this a chance anyway. I figured cooking would help alleviate the bite that radishes and turnips have. I was right, once cooked the turnips did have a bit sweeter flavor. I must admit, though, that when I make this soup again, I will probably omit the turnips, but that’s just me.
Rating: Very Good
I served the soup with some flat bread. Basically I had whole wheat master bread recipe dough from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, but I stretched it out onto the pizza stone at 450°F for about 10-12 minutes.
I really liked the berberé spice mixture, I intend to make more soups with the mixture I have left, over the autumn/winter. It is very warming to the soul.