Eating the World

In Season: Loaded Winter White Vegetable "Potato" Soup

Lately, in this In Season series, we're taking a look at what I take home from Crooked Sky Farms each week and see what I've done with my CSA share, or part share. This week I'm using potatoes, turnips, rutabagas and/or parsnips.

Even though the weather report shows us in the 70s for the next few days (and it's only the first week of January), I've still got soup on the brain. I was catching up on my RSS feeds and spotted Phoenix's own, Handle the Heat's top posts list for the last year and way up high at number 2 is a loaded potato soup recipe.

The first thing I thought was, "Hey, rutabagas or parsnips would be great in this recipe, and I'm always looking for ways to sneak in turnips. In this loaded white soup any or all of these would totally work."

And so here it is, your farm-inspired loaded "potato" soup:

Jen's Loaded Winter White Root Vegetable "Potato" Soup
Yield: 4 servings
Adapted from Cooking Light October 2010 via Handle the Heat

2 pounds (potatoes, rutabagas, turnip, cauliflower and/or parsnips - however many of each you wish - tho' I would go half potatoes and half rutabagas or all cauliflower if I had a preference and didn't have turnips waiting to be eaten in my crisper)

1 tablespoon butter (or olive oil)

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 1/4 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups milk (whatever kind ya got), divided

1/4 cup plain yogurt (or sour cream or creme fraiche)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

3 bacon slices (or if you don't eat bacon, caramelize a few onions, instead)

1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese (the sharper, the better)

4 teaspoons thinly sliced green onions (i'itoi's are a nice native variety)

Prepare the root vegetables to be nuked. Peel and cut the vegetables until they're all about the same size. If you're only using the big round root vegetables and they're all about the same size, don't to anything but stab them a few times with a fork. Microwave on high 8-12 minutes or until tender. If you're throwing in a little of each of the suggested vegetables, I would peel and chop into 1" cubes and place in a medium pot over medium high heat with an 1" of water and a steamer basket. Ideally, steam in batches until each vegetable is tender. I tend to get busy and would just throw it all in there. Since they're all going into a soup, you could get away with cooking them to super smoosh stage.

While the roots cook, heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. (If you like cooking bacon on the stovetop, put a separate pan on med-high heat and brown the bacon while you work on the soup.) Add onion and sauté for 3 minutes or so. Add the broth. Combine flour and 1/2 cup milk in a jar, lid it and shake like the dickens; add to the pot and then add the remaining 1 1/2 cups milk. Bring to a boil and give it an occasional stir being careful to not let the milk boil over. Cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in yogurt, salt, and pepper.

For the bacon, Cooking Light suggests: "Arrange bacon on a paper towel on a microwave-safe plate. Cover with a paper towel; microwave on HIGH for 4 minutes. Crumble bacon." I almost always burn my bacon this way, so that's why I suggested browning it earlier in a separate pan on the stove.

Scoop out the potatoes, and save the potato skins for your compost pile. Coarsely mash vegetables into soup using a potato masher or if you like it smooth, run them all through a ricer instead. Stir the vegetables (in whatever state of mash you chose) into the soup. Ladle soup into four bowls and top with cheese, green onions, and bacon.

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Jennifer Woods
Contact: Jennifer Woods