Hakurei Turnip Soup Recipe

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

Eating from the Ground Up Recipes for Simple, Perfect VegetablesPanfried BrusselsEarly on in my food writing life, I wrote about a version of this soup, a recipe I’d gotten from Alice Waters. The blog post was called “Sex and the Turnip.” (Analytics tells me this post still comes up quite a bit in certain Google searches.) I felt then, as I do now, that the Hakurei turnip belongs in the ranks of oysters and chocolate that its curvy smooth flesh qualifies it for aphrodisiac status. Bite into a raw Hakurei turnip and it gives under your teeth, not with a crunch but with a glide. Cooked, the texture becomes silky and transparent, the taste both sweet and bitter at once. It’s best raw, caramelized (see this page), or like this, in a simple soup that gives the sexy turnip a bath in which to lounge.

This recipe is quite close to the Alice Waters original, but I couldn’t create a collection of simple vegetable recipes without it. It would seem that a soup of just turnips wouldn’t be a stunner, but over the years it’s never failed to be a showstopper. Try to use really delicious stock here, as the taste will make a big difference. And don’t skip the Parmesan it’s essential.

  • Yield: 2 quarts


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 cups thinly sliced leeks (1 to 2 leeks, using all the white and the tender part of the green)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 bunches Hakurei turnips (about 1¾ pounds), greens separated, turnips quartered and thinly sliced
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • For serving: Grated Parmesan cheese
How to Make It
  1. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large pot set over medium heat. Add the leeks, thyme, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks soften, about 5 minutes. Add the turnips and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and slightly translucent, 4 to 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, sort through the turnip greens and discard any withered ones. Rinse the good greens, roughly chop them, and measure out 4 cups. Save any extra for Miso Greens or Polenta with All the Greens.
  3. Add the stock to the pot, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a low boil. Add the greens to the pot and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover the pot and cook until the turnips are silky and the greens are tender, 10 minutes. Taste, and add additional salt, as necessary. Serve with lots of Parmesan cheese.

Leave A Reply