I owe the idea for this soup to my sister-in-law, who recently developed and shared with me a recipe for roasted butternut squash soup. I wanted to make a turnip soup, and adapted her recipe to the turnips and other root vegetables I had in my refrigerator. The ginger and cayenne give the soup a nice bite. I thought the leeks, carrots, and parsnips would provide a nice flavor balance to the turnips, since they tend to be somewhat sweet. The pear also adds sweetness. This soup is perfect for a chilly autumn day, and uses lots of ingredients that you can probably source locally in the fall. Humble and comforting!
2 leeks, dark green parts discarded and white/light green parts sliced lengthwise and then sliced thin
2 pounds turnips, peeled and diced into 2” cubes
2 parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
4 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
6 whole cloves of garlic with skin on
2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into thin strips
1 pear, peeled and cut into chunks
salt and pepper to taste
1 ½ quarts vegetable stock
dash cayenne pepper
Toss turnips, parsnips, carrots and garlic with plenty of olive oil, grind sea salt and pepper over all to taste, and roast in 400 degree oven for approximately 30 minutes. Toss vegetables occasionally while roasting. They are finished when they are just beginning to burn a little (this is caramelization, which brings out the sweetness of the vegetables).
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in stock pot, then sauté leeks until they are soft. Add ginger, cook for a few minutes. When roasted root vegetables are ready, peel garlic cloves and squeeze the roasted garlic into the pot; add rest of vegetables to the pot with 1 ½ quarts of vegetable stock. Season with freshly ground sea salt and black pepper to taste. Heat to a simmer, then add pear chunks, cayenne and nutmeg. Simmer for a few minutes, then puree with a stick blender. Add additional vegetable broth or water if soup is thicker than desired. Garnish servings with chopped parsley. Serves 6-8.