I recently taught a class called Funky Roots at the Easton Public Market and made this soup for those in attendance. I wanted something bright and full of vitamins and nutrients, and you'll get all of that and more with this soup: vitamins A, C, along with potassium, magnesium, copper, iron and manganese and hearty doses of phytonutrients. I included some lovely yellow-hued veggies, including golden beets, golden ball turnips and fresh turmeric root. Often, when I make vegetarian soups, I like to include some kind of bean because it boost up the protein content and it makes for a nice texture when you puree without having to add any fat from cream. (I avoid this almost all the time.) So here, I've added garbanzo beans, but I imagine white beans would work too, without suffering much color alteration here.
In terms of the amounts, I've devised this soup to be somewhat flexible. It makes sense to weigh the ingredients as you shop; it's often easier to do that than to try to guess how many turnips will yield, say, 2 cups of chopped veggies. That being said, I used probably 2-3 turnips and 2-3 beets, and about a half dozen potatoes, but those aren’t hard and fast numbers because the veggies vary in size. If you want to make this heavier on one veg versus another, that's your call.
As far as peeling root veggies go, I scrub them all well, and peel only the beets. For the others I leave the skins on because I'm buying veggies that are organic and/or chemical free. Be sure to wash and scrub the Jerusalem artichokes (which are neither from Jerusalem nor are they artichokes but a low-starch tuber) a few times because they are kind of gnarly and hide lots of dirt. I even run them through yet another change of water after I cut them up because dirt hides in all nooks and crannies. They are really tricky to peel because of their shape so I don't typically bother. The j-chokes lend a nice nutty note to this soup but if you don't have access to them, it's not the end of the world. I'd just add some more of the other ingredients to compensate.
For this winter sunshine soup, I resisted the urge to garnish with an herb. I suppose if you wanted to take this into a more Southeast Asian direction, you could use some coconut milk for part of the stock or water, swap out curry powder for the cumin and ground turmeric (or just up their amounts slightly if you don't have curry powder) and garnish with cilantro.
- 2 T. butter, coconut oil or other cooking fat of your choice
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 T. turmeric root, minced
- 2 T. ginger, minced
- ½ tsp. ground cumin
- ½ tsp. ground turmeric
- Golden ball turnip (6-8 ounces), chopped into 1-inch chunks
- German Butterball Potatoes (6-8 ounces), chopped into 1-inch chunks
- Golden Beets (6-8 ounces), peeled and chopped into 1-inch chunks
- Jerusalem Artichokes (4 ounces), chopped into 1-inch chunks
- 4-5 cups veggie stock or water
- 1 cup chickpeas
- Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the cooking fat over medium heat in a stock pot and sauté the onion for a few minutes until it begins to soften. Add the garlic, turmeric root and ginger and stir together, cooking for a minute or two until the mixture becomes aromatic. Finally, add in the ground spices and stir to coat evenly.
Add the chopped root veggies and the stock. Turn up the heat a bit and bring the soup to a boil. Once it boils, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for about 20-30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
If you are going to puree the soup, turn off the heat once the veggies are tender and, working in batches if necessary, transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. Serve with a green salad and some crusty bread.
This soup tastes better after a couple of days, so if you have leftovers, you’re lucky.