One Third of a Turnip (or, Vegetable Broth)


It’s not a particularly inspiring recipe or anything, but I don’t have too much else stored up for blogging and I really wanted to post *something* so that everyone can be sure that my internet hasn’t frozen in all the snow.

It’s the time of year where I find it even more difficult than usual not to overeat. The weather is so cold and grey, and while I love the look of snow, walking to work in it takes the edge off the loveliness, for me. So every day this week I’ve had a bad roll for breakfast, instead of the Actimel that had been my habit, and whatever I fancied for lunch, and I even bought cheese and crackers just for my own consumption, which is extremely dangerous.

Side note: in case you were wondering, a ‘bad roll’ is a breakfast roll (or bap, if you’re from somewhere that you don’t call them rolls) with some kind of bad for you, fried food on it. Unfortunately – or fortunately, depending on your point of view – the canteen at work makes bad rolls available every morning, with the choice of bacon, links sausage, lorne sausage, vegetarian sausage, black pudding, potato scones, hash browns, scrambled eggs or beans, or any combination of the above. They also give the choice of porridge, fruits that have clearly come from a tin, fresh fruit and toast, I can’t say that the healthy options aren’t there. It’s just that I don’t choose them…

So, next week I’ll be back on track, but this week wasn’t a completely lost cause. I made a pot of vegetable broth, perfect for the cold weather and for taking to work as a healthy lunch, which I did on Friday, saving me from buying delicious fish and chips. I’m a bit fed up with myself for my bad choices this week, as I undid all the good work I did in the previous four weeks, but what can I do but get back on the wagon? This isn’t fat free soup by any manner of means, but it’s filling and contains nutritious, low fat ingredients. You could leave out the broth mix if you wanted something really slimline but it wouldn’t be nearly so satisfying…

Usually I’d be suspicious of a recipe that began ‘take one third of a turnip’. I’d think ‘what happened to the other two thirds?’. However, turnip (or swede) is a pest to slice into, and I didn’t manage to get a clean half; the recipe probably contains more than a third, but less than a half, but that’s an even more suspicious line with which to start a recipe, so…

  • 1/3 turnip, peeled and diced
  • 4 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 parsnips, peeled and diced
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 3/4 cup broth mix, soaked overnight then drained and rinsed
  • 2 vegetable stock cubes
  • plenty of boiling water

So basically what you’re after is equal amounts of turnip (or swede, to be honest I don’t really understand the difference), carrot and parsnip, all evenly diced. Put all three veg into your soup pot with the oil and generously season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook over a medium-high heat for about five minutes to start to release the starch and flavours from the veg. Once it starts to go soft round the edges, and leave starchy residue round the sides of the pot, pour in enough boiling water to fill the pot – this took me almost two kettlefuls (not a word). Stir the veg around and add the broth mix and the stock cubes, crumbled. Simmer for one hour, then take a potato masher to the soup to break up some of the veg and thicken the soup, without getting rid of all the texture, particularly that of the lovely split peas and barley from the broth mix. Turn the heat off, then add the frozen peas and parsley, and leave for three or so minutes. It’s now ready to serve.

The soup would be good with a stick of celery through it, and I couldn’t get any leeks in the shop either, that would have been a nice addition. However, it’s pretty good as-is. It’s quite sweet from the veg and a little peppery from the parsnip. It could be done with a ham stock, too – stick a ham hough in there for the hour that its simmering and that’d do the trick.

A couple of slightly rubbish photos:

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About Rock Salt

Seasoning while rocking out since 1983. View all posts by Rock Salt

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