Monday, February 13, 2012

Rutabaga - Pistachio/Pecan Soup with Leftover Polenta-Vegan Sausage

We had a rutabaga that came in our on-line farmer's market order this past week. Since 2007 when I first tried rutabaga, I've roasted it and served it raw, but don't have a lot of experience with it.
I thought it would be fun to make a soup and found a simple Sweet Rutabaga Soup recipe online. It was appealing because of its simplicity and because it calls for mixed nuts; for the past short while, I've found pistachios to be particularly appealing (I found an amazing sounding recipe for pasta with pistachio-arugula pesto and have to make this soon!).
Here is my modification, but I'll cut to the chase - all of us, my wife and I and even our toddler, loved it! This is what I did:
  1. I washed and peeled a rutabaga. Maybe because this was organic, it was easy to peel; I understand that supermarket rutabagas often are waxed, and are more difficult to peel.
  2. I also washed and peeled a medium sweet potato, then cut both vegetables into reasonably small (1/4" or so) cubes.
  3. I put the cubes and a vegan bouillon cube into a pan and brought it to a boil, then reduced heat and simmered for about 10-15m till the vegetables were soft. I tried the rutabaga - it was sweet and tasty, so I'll have to again work with this nutritious vegetable maybe for a rutabaga mash.
  4. I drained the liquid (but in the future I'll reserve it; see below) and put 2 1/2 cups of water and the vegetables in my Vita Mix blender, though other blenders would probably work fine to simply puree.
  5. I added a cup of almond milk (we always have it on hand - my wife makes fresh almond milk with no sweetener, as we prefer it, every few days) to the blender, which I still hadn't started.
  6. I measured out 1/2 cup mixed nuts; I used maybe a third pistachios and two thirds pecans (obviously the nuts were shelled first!). I put most of the nuts in but reserved maybe a fifth.
  7. I added two tablespoonfuls of vegan non-sweetened soy yogurt and considered adding a quarter jalapeno pepper, but wanted to do without for my toddler's benefit.
  8. I blended to a puree, ramping up on variable speed and then going to high. I sampled and loved what I tasted, but the soup was thicker than I'd like, so I added another half cup or so of almond milk and 3/4 cup or so of water. (For future reference, I'd just use 1 1/2 cups almond milk and a full cup of the drained liquid from boiling in step 5 above.)
  9. I then added the reserved nuts and briefly, over maybe 10 seconds, blended on medium to get small chunks of nuts to be left in the soup.

The soup was really tasty and second only to the carrot-ginger soup that I occasionally make and really love. If I had some walnut or roasted pistachio oil, it would have been great to have a dash served on top of the soup, along with a sprig of lemon sage. I served it with leftover polenta filling from the pizza that I had made a few days ago.


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