Cream of Turnip Soup and reminiscing about Bunratty Castle

Cream of Turnip Soup and reminiscing about Bunratty Castle

Writing and cooking in: Pittsburgh, PA


I’m bound to fall in love with any vegetable that has any purple qualities to it: eggplants, Adirondack blue potatoes that get purple-y when roasted, and now, turnips with a white and purple skin. I think I may be in love with the turnip. Or at least cream of turnip soup, which isn’t purple and doesn’t use the purple skin but is yummy enough that it can be forgiven.

Kevin and I had cream of turnip soup for the first time when we went to Bunratty Castle in Ireland. We attended a medieval dinner there and our first course was a thick, white soup of turnips, parsnips, and cream with a few other ingredients. We drank it right out of our bowls. The only silverware we got was a knife, in typical style of the Middle Ages. We also drank mead and ate ribs and sang along to traditional Irish songs. Kevin even got picked out of the crowd to taste the meat course and determine that whether the chef would ever cook in the castle again! (Kevin has a fantastic handlebar mustache that attracts a lot of attention, so he gets picked out for things a lot. It’s pretty cool.)

Our hosts at Bunratty

I knew when we were at Bunratty it was a once in a lifetime experience: dinner in castle with amazing food, plenty of wine, and servers rarely broke character and could all sing beautifully. But I thought maybe I could recreate the soup. Kevin and I both loved the creamy concoction of turnips and parsnips. And Kevin is notoriously neither a vegetable person or a soup person, which let me know it really was good and I wasn’t just hyperbolizing. Sometimes I get carried away.

I am happy to report that I did a pretty good job recreating the soup and that it was easier than I thought. In fact, I just finished making a second batch because my first batch was just too small and didn’t last. I served it with leftover ribs, so it really was as close as we’ll get to going back to Bunratty for dinner.

Bunratty Castle

Cream of Turnip Soup

1 large white onion, peeled and diced

2 medium parsnips, peeled and diced

4 T butter

5 cups chicken stock

1 pound turnips, peeled and cut in chunks

1/2 cup heavy cream

salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter in the bottom of a heavy stock pot and saute onions and parsnips until onions are transluscent (about 5 minutes). Add in stock and turnips. Bring to a boil and simmer approximately fifteen minutes (until turnips are tender). Remove from heat, cool slightly, and blend until smooth. Return to stove and cook about five minutes longer. Add heavy cream and heat through. Season to taste. Serve hot.

Variation: Double the amount of heavy cream in the recipe. Chill and serve in frosted mugs. Garnish with fresh cracked pepper and nutmeg.

Today’s local ingredients:

Parsnips and onion from Farmers’ Market Cooperative of East Liberty

Turnips, Clarion River Organics via Penn’s Corner CSA

Heavy Cream, Turner’s Dairy, Penn Hills, PA via Whole Foods

Chicken stock, stock that I made and froze during The Chicken Project from Clarion River Organics chicken neck and bones

This post is part of Fight Back Friday.

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