San Francisco local Heather Knape moderates our 18 Reasons Food Lit Book Club and writes a blog called Eating Dirt about growing, cooking and eating food with her family. We invited her to try a recipe from Eat Good Food to see how cooking it would fit into her lifestyle as a busy mom and how it went over with the kids! She shared her experience with us:
Spring has sprung, sort of. The snap peas my kids and I planted last year are flowering on the deck, early asparagus is in the market and citrus is reaching its peak for the year. But the time for a dinner celebrating the commencement of bountiful growth hasn’t quite arrived – lamb is good, yet the price of asparagus is still high and there is no rhubarb in sight. About the only harbinger of Spring I can reliably find in good supply is green garlic- though that in itself is a much awaited treat.
Sam’s Potato, Parsnip and Celery Root Soup is an especially good recipe for this anticipatory time of year. It straddles the seasons deliciously, relying on winter holdovers of potato and parsnip as a base, with the brightness of celery root and green garlic to highlight the season. In addition to providing a great opportunity to talk to kids about how garlic matures from a stalk to a bulb, it gives those of us living where greens grow year round a gustatory glimpse into the warming of local soil, like crocus pushing up through the snow in colder climates.
Served with salad this soup makes a great dinner. To entice younger eaters in my house I float tiny meatballs on top; they eat it up. A thermosful also makes a great take-away lunch, both for parents and first graders. Good with homemade croutons, carrot sticks, an apple and a spoon packed alongside.
Potato, Parsnip and Celery Root Soup (adapted from Eat Good Food, p122):
1 T unsalted butter
1 T extra virgin olive oil
2 large leeks, white and light green parts thinly sliced
2 large waxy potatoes, peeled and diced (yukon gold are good)
2 medium parsnips, peeled and diced (or rutabagas or turnips)
1 medium celery root, peeled and diced
2 stalks green garlic, chopped
1 t ground mustard
4 large sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup dry white wine (leave this out if you want to send it to school)
4 cups chicken or veggie broth (homemade or storemade)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup cream
1 T lemon juice
1. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large pot over medium-low heat.
2. Add the leeks, 1/2 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook for 6-8 minutes. The leeks will become translucent, be careful not to let them brown or burn. Add the potatoes, parsnip, celery root and garlic. Cover the pot and let it cook gently for 10 minutes or so, then add the mustard, thyme and bay leaf for a couple more minutes.
3. Add the wine now if you are using it, then cook until it has evaporated.
4. Add the broth, cover the pot partially and increase the heat to medium high. Bring just to a boil, then lower the heat to keep it simmering gently. Cook for 45 minutes to an hour, until the vegetables are starting to break down.
5. To finish, remove and discard the thyme and bay leaf. Then puree the soup, either with an immersion blender, or by letting it cool and then blending it in small batches. Stir in the cream and lemon juice and season to taste with salt. Serve with chives and homemade croutons on top. To make the croutons, cut bread into cubes, then sauté in butter and sprinkle with salt.