In the Bay Area, the thermometer says spring, but the calendar still says winter, and it is winter vegetables I found this morning at the farmer’s market. I decided to buy what veggies looked good and create something with them. You see what I bought in the photo above: baby turnips with their greens, tender carrots, shiitake mushrooms and green onions. Not surprisingly, this added up to soup, Chinese in inspiration with lots of warming ginger (carrying out the theme of yesterday’s post). This is healing food, but with rich flavor from the ginger, shiitake mushrooms and soy sauce. If you don’t find baby turnips at your market, regular turnips will do, just dice them and cook a little longer, and kale, collards or mustard greens could substitute for the turnip greens. So, here’s a light, but warming winter soup, and the full recipe is after the jump.
GINGERY CHINESE-STYLE SOUP WITH TURNIPS AND TURNIP GREENS
This soup is meant to be gingery, so reduce the amount of ginger to two tablespoons if you think the ginger in this recipe might be too much. For authentic Chinese flavor, I use a dark, toasted sesame oil. It’s well worth buying and keeping on hand. Dark sesame oil delivers more flavor per teaspoon than any oil I’ve encountered. When making soup, I like to make a big batch. This recipe serves six generously, so give some away, invite friends or keep it safely in the fridge!
10 cups boiling water
1-2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil (or your oil of choice)
1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
5-6 medium shiitake mushrooms (stems removed), sliced
2-3 medium carrots, cut lengthwise, then into thin diagonal slices
3 tablespoons ginger, peeled (if necessary) and julienned (about a 3-inch piece of ginger)
6-8 small turnips, trimmed and quartered or cut into six, depending on size
Fresh greens from one or two bunches of small turnips, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch strips
1/4 cup mirin (optional)
2 vegetarian bouillon cubes, or 1 heaping tablespoon powdered vegetarian bouillon
salt, freshly ground black pepper, soy sauce, to taste
three green onions, thinly sliced for the garnish
1. Bring the water to a boil in a large pot.
2. Heat the oil in a large dutch oven, or similar pot. Add the mushrooms and onions and sauté on medium high heat 3-4 minutes. Add the carrots, ginger and turnips and sauté 3-4 minutes more. Add a pinch of salt, and a teaspoon of soy sauce.
3. Add 10 cups of the hot water, the vegetable bouillon and the mirin. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat so everything simmers gently for about 25 minutes or until all the vegetables are very tender. Skim off any foam which may have collected on the surface.
4. Add the turnip greens and continue simmering for 5 minutes or until the greens are cooked to your liking. Taste and adjust by adding salt, soy sauce, and freshly ground black pepper. Simmer a minute or two more. Turn off heat and add a few drops of the sesame oil.
5. Ladle into bowls and garnish with the green onion.