Monday, March 23, 2015

Winter Vegetable Soup with Garlic Twist Bread

We're on the downside of March with only one more week left of this year's Speedbo (Seekerville's annual writing challenge - go here for details. It isn't too late to sign up!).

Even though it's spring for our southern peeps, we're still enjoying cool (i.e. cold) temperatures in the north, and even a little (or a lot of) snow. So before soup weather disappears, I thought we'd take a rerun look at one of my family's favorites. I hope you enjoy these recipes from 2012!

This soup is one of those you can make with almost any veggie – except potatoes. If you add potatoes, then it’s potato soup, right?

Here’s the official recipe:

Winter Vegetable Soup

¼ cup butter
2 medium sized turnips, chopped
1 rutabaga, chopped
2 parsnips, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 ½ quarts stock – chicken or vegetable
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon dried thyme, or one sprig fresh thyme
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ cup heavy cream
2 cups kale
1 Tablespoon each, butter and olive oil

In a large soup pot (I use an 8-quart pot), melt the butter. Add your turnips, rutabaga, parsnips, carrots and onions.

Cook on medium-low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. After the 30 minutes, add your stock, garlic, thyme, salt, pepper and cayenne. Bring it all to a boil, and then reduce it to a simmer and cook for an additional 30 minutes or so until the vegetables are soft.

When your veggies are nice and soft, it’s time for the blender. (If you used fresh thyme, remove the sprig now.)

If you have one of those handy immersion blenders, this is the time to put it through its paces. Just stick it in the pot and blend until the soup is smooth.

I don’t have one of those, so I put the soup – about a quart at a time – in my big blender and blend away. As each part gets done, I put the blended soup in a large bowl and do the next batch until the whole pot of soup is nice and smooth. Then I return it to the soup pot and put it back on the stove on medium heat.

While the soup is coming back up to temperature, tear the kale into 1-inch pieces. 

Heat butter and olive oil in a skillet until melted. Add the kale and stir to coat. Add salt to taste. Cook at medium heat, stirring, about 3 minutes. Cover the skillet, reduce the heat to low, and let the kale steam for about 5-7 minutes, or until soft.

While the kale is cooking, add the cream to your soup and let it heat slowly. You don’t want to heat it too quickly or let the soup boil or the cream will break.

Serve the soup in bowls with a nice dollop of kale for a garnish.

Now, soup for dinner begs to have bread on the side, and the fresher the better.

For this yummy Garlic Twist Bread you need:

one loaf of bread dough
2 Tablespoons butter, softened
2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 teaspoon dried Basil

The garlic twist idea comes from my friend Martha Greene. Check out her Facebook page:

Since I make my bread six loaves at a time, it’s easy to use one lump of dough for this recipe…

OR, you can buy a loaf of frozen bread dough from the grocery store…

The main thing is to have bread dough ready to go.

On a baking pan (greased or lined with baking parchment), spread your dough out into a rectangle, about 9 inches by 12 inches.

On this rectangle, spread 2 Tablespoons softened butter. 

In a bowl, mix together 2 teaspoons minced garlic, ¼ cup parmesan cheese, ¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese and 1 teaspoon dried basil.

Spread this mixture evenly over your dough.

Now, roll up your rectangle from the side, jelly-roll style.

Next, cut the roll up the middle.

If you don’t have a pair of kitchen shears, buy one. They’re way too handy not to own a pair.
Oh! When you’re cutting, stop just before you get to the end!

Now, carefully twist the two halves of the roll around each other. This isn’t as easy as it looks, but it works.

Warning: you’re going to make a mess. Just put any spilled filling back on top of your bread.
Brush the top of the loaf with an egg beaten with a tablespoon of water, then sprinkle with sesame seeds. (This step isn’t crucial to the recipe, but it sure makes the loaf look professional!)
Let it rise for about 20-30 minutes, and then bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes, or until nicely browned on top.

Mine got a little browner than I wanted – my oven doesn’t keep an even temperature, but I’m shopping for a new one. My dear husband insists we make the purchase before the Christmas baking season...

Now, doesn’t that look like a great cold-weather meal?

I hope you enjoyed our flashback. I'll be making this for my family this week or next, whenever the next chilly evening comes around - because in a couple months, it's going to be too hot for soup, right? 

Meanwhile, if you're a writer, how is your Speedbo month going? 

My word count doesn't match my goals, but I did meet today's editing deadline. Even though I haven't worked on my WIP as much as I planned, I have put in steady days of work all month long. 

And if you're a reader, aren't you glad your favorite authors have been working so hard???


  1. Rats...I don't have a blender or I'd be making this recipe this week. -25 here this morning. So glad I don't have to go outside. Mind you the wind chill in my house isn't pleasant. But they promise spring temps by mid-week...for a day. I'll take it!

    Oh -- and here's a question about the soup. Would it work without the cream do you think? My daughter is allergic and I think she'd like this recipe too but it would have to be modified somehow.

    And thanks for the garlic bread recipe. I've always wanted to make it 'fresh'. Simple things make me happy.

    Oh, and Speedbo is motoring on though I've dropped in word count since I've been blurb writing. :-(

    1. Good morning, Kav!

      Don't let the lack of a blender stop you. The flavors will all be there. The only thing the blender does is to puree the soup so it's smooth. If I'm in a hurry or feeling a bit lazy, I skip the blender step.

      Or you could use a food processor, if you have one.

      And, yes, go ahead and leave out the cream. The original version of this recipe calls for a dollop of creme fraiche in place of the kale I use. Since I rarely have creme fraiche (that means never!), and my family says they don't like sour cream, I started stirring regular cream into the finished product. I like it that way, but the soup is still good without it.

      Yay on Speedbo! Blurbs are good, too! :)

  2. Honestly now ... when is it ever too hot for soup? I love it year 'round! This sounds yummy, and the bread would be a perfect complement.

    Speedbo isn't producing as many words as I had hoped, even tho' my goal accommodated the likelihood that I wouldn't have as much time as usual this month. (A kitchen renovation is a big distraction!) Right now, my goal is just to keep moving forward. :)

    1. Distractions abound! I keep telling myself that even though the word count might not be as high as I'd like, I'm still making progress!

  3. I'm up from my sick bed and this looks great. Except I can't chop right now. Does it work with just broth and no cream?

    Speedbo took a dive this weekend thanks to the bug the grandkidlets shared. But I still got in good research and am scribbling notes. My blurb and page have already been sent so I am taking it easy. UGH.

    1. I hope you feel completely better soon, Julie!

      And yes, this is a great soup without the cream. And you can use big chunks of veggies if you cook them longer, and then you can use your food processor or blender to puree everything together.

      And YAY! on sending in your Blurb 2 Book entry!!!

    2. I'm sorry you've been sick, Julie!

  4. Jan, these both look wonderful!! I love the idea of the shears to cut bread dough. I use mine all the time!

    I'll have to try this very soon. We're almost past soup weather! :)

  5. I'm so excited about the bread dough twist! I've done braids for special occasions, but this twist is a new twist, my friend! Love it!

    My oven is acting up too. We've replaced parts of it several times, so maybe a new one is in store for us, too. Although that irks me because this wasn't cheap, it's a convection oven and needed 5 ignitors over a span of ten years. Because I use my oven often, but still.... isn't that what they're for? So that was about an extra $1K in oven repairs over the life of the oven. The other thing that was bad about if for a big family, is that you can't get two big pots on one side. You can do my big fryer or a soup pot, but you can't even get the teakettle on the back (smaller) burners then. So maybe it's good that it's acting up? I never noticed when I bought it that the distance between the burners was narrower, but that makes a big difference when there's a crowd for supper.

    I love veggie soup. Dave's mom went on a soup spree and we have 8 containers of soup in the freezer for those Ruthy's-not-cooking nights. Such a nice gift to have on hand!