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Volume III
January 20, 2012

Weekly Home / Cook'n & Eat'n

A Soup You MUST Try!

By Alice Osborne

My daughter Sarah called me the other day, almost breathless. She said, "MOM, have you ever used rutabagas or parsnips? I found a recipe for a soup that uses these that's amazing!" Are you kidding me, excited about rutabagas and parsnips?

I had to admit, no, I've never tried rutabagas or parsnips. I've never held them in very high esteem - in fact, I've had a prejudice against them (don't know why nor can I trace where this prejudice came from). But due to Sarah's recommendation, I thought I'd open my mind and give them a serious look. And they're certainly worth looking at. Nutrition-wise, these vegetables have a lot to recommend them:

The rutabaga, believed to be a hybrid of the turnip and some form of cabbage, is often called Swedish turnip. They are high in vitamin C and a rich source of potassium, which makes it a good remedy for decreasing risk of heart attacks and stroke. And to continue the heart benefits, it also helps lower high blood pressure. Rutabaga stimulates milk production and also enhances digestion and stamina. It lowers the risk of cataract formation and even supports the structure of capillaries. Finally, the rutabaga is very beneficial in treating constipation problems.

And parsnips? They provide an excellent source of vitamin C, fiber, folic acid, pantothenic acid, copper, and manganese. Parsnips also offer a very good source of niacin, thiamine, magnesium, and potassium. They are a good source of riboflavin, folic acid, and vitamins B6 and E. This is one nutrient-dense vegetable we'd be smart to learn to use and use more often!

Rutabagas and parsnips are available year-round generally. If you want to grow them, just know that they prefer cooler climates. They are root vegetables, and like most root vegetables they store well. They'll last awhile in the pantry and even longer in the refrigerator.

So the soup Sarah was referring to? She sent me to the website and there it was. We offer them our hearty thanks for this hearty and delicious recipe!

Hearty Rutabaga & Parsnip Soup

Serves 2

2 tablespoons olive oil
6 ounces smoked turkey sausage, cut into 1/2-inch diced chunks
1 large onion, chopped
3 small parsnips, peeled, diced
1 medium rutabaga, peeled, diced
1 large carrot, peeled, diced
1 14 1/2-ounce can beef broth
1 14 1/2-ounce can chicken broth
1/4 cup half and half
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
Salt and pepper

Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add sausage and saute until brown on all sides, about 7 minutes. Transfer to plate using slotted spoon. Add onion to saucepan. Reduce heat to medium and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add parsnips, rutabaga and carrot and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add broths. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 40 minutes.

Puree soup in batches in processor. Return to saucepan. Mix in half and half and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Add sausage. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.) Heat through. Ladle into bowls and serve.

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