Leek, turnip and rice soup [Photo/The New York Times]
This simple, fragrant soup is delicious as thick vegetable soup, not puréed. It becomes a different soup altogether when you purée it, and I like both versions equally.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 large leeks, white and light green parts only, cleaned and sliced
1 pound turnips, cut in 1/2-inch dice
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 quarts vegetable stock, chicken stock or water
Salt to taste
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup rice, preferably arborio
Freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Freshly grated Parmesan for serving
Garlic croutons for serving (optional)
1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven and add the leeks. Cook, stirring often, until leeks are beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the turnips and continue to cook, stirring often, until the turnips are translucent and the leeks thoroughly tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook, stirring for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the stock or water, salt, bay leaf and rice. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. If serving as is, add pepper, stir in the parsley and serve, over croutons if desired, passing Parmesan at the table for sprinkling.
Note: For a puréed soup, use an immersion blender (or a regular blender, working in batches and placing a kitchen towel over the top to avoid splashing) until the mixture is very smooth. Return to the pot, heat through and adjust salt. Stir in the pepper and parsley and serve, passing Parmesan at the table for sprinkling.
Yield: 4 servings.
Advance preparation: You can make this a day ahead, but omit the rice. About 30 minutes before serving, bring back to a simmer, add the rice and simmer until tender, 20 to 30 minutes. If you let the soup sit with the rice, it will continue to absorb the broth.
Nutritional information per serving: 158 calories; 1 gram saturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 3 grams monounsaturated fat; 0 milligrams cholesterol; 27 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams dietary fiber; 73 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 3 grams protein