Turnip and kale soup is a wonderful blend of winter and spring energies perfect for this time of year. The turnips are a tasty winter root vegetable and the leeks and kale add the fresh upward energy of spring. This recipe is an adaptation of one from a favorite cookbook, Fresh Food Fast, by Peter Berley.
I really only have two cookbooks that I use with any regularity. They are both by Peter Berley. For many years he was a chef at Angelica Kitchen, a macrobiotic restaurant in New York City. I am not sure what he is up to now. The last I heard he was a personal chef and culinary instructor at the Natural Gourmet Cooking School in New York. If you decide to make recipes from any of his cookbooks, the only recommendation I have is to use a lot less salt than he calls for and be careful with the amounts of spices. If you are only going to buy one of his books, The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen is outstanding.
Turnip and Kale Soup
adapted from Fresh Food Fast by Peter Berley
1 Tbsp unrefined olive oil
2 leeks, wash and thinly slice white and light green parts
2 cloves garlic, chopped small
2-3 tsp chopped fresh rosemary (the recipe calls for caraway seeds but we were out)
a few pinches sea salt
3 fresh small/medium-size turnips (I also added a few radishes), chopped into small cubes
3 small red potatoes, cut in bite size cubes
2-3 cups chopped kale (stems included and chopped small)
freshly ground black pepper
fresh lemon juice (optional)
1. In a large soup pot with a heavy bottom, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Add the leeks as soon as they sizzle slightly when a little piece is added. Sauté, stirring frequently until leeks relax slightly. Add the sea salt, garlic and rosemary. Sauté for another minute.
2. Add turnips, red potatoes and about 7 cups water. Bring to a low boil and then turn heat down to simmer. Continue to simmer until turnips and potatoes are tender. Taste and add a little more sea salt if needed.
3. Add greens and additional water if it seems like it needs it. Cook another few more minutes until greens are tender. Be careful to not overcook the greens. Add a few twists of fresh black pepper.
4. Add a little lemon juice at the end if desired or have slices available for each person to add to their bowl.
This soup would be great with some deep-fried sourdough bread cubes or deep-fried plain mochi cubes. You can also make a brothier soup and add vegan dumplings.
Try to find turnips that are smaller and freshly picked. They are more likely to be bitter and spicy if they are older.