Silken Turnip and Potato Soup



One year, after a bumper crop of turnips, I was searching for ways to cook them when I came across this lovely dish. Despite including no milk or cream, this soup is so rich and tasty. I cooked it for a neighborhood potluck, afraid no one would come near it if I ’fessed up about the turnips. I called it “Surprise Potato Soup.” The surprise turned out to be how many people loved it.

This recipe originally came from beloved African-American chef Edna Lewis’ collection. I found it at Food & Wine magazine’s website. 

Serves 6


  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 pounds turnips, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3/4 pound baking potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp. coarse sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 cup finely shredded basil or parsley, for garnish


1. In a large, heavy stockpot, melt the butter. Add the onions and cook over moderate heat until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the turnips and potatoes and stir to coat with the butter. Add salt, cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 20 minutes.

2. Stir in the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Cover partially and cook over moderate heat until the vegetables are very tender, about 10 minutes.

3. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until perfectly smooth. Return the soup to the pot and season with more salt and the nutmeg. Ladle the soup into shallow bowls and garnish with the basil or parsley before serving.