Swede is a root star! You may call it a neep, a rutabaga or a yellow turnip. Whatever the name, not many people agree with me! Swede is a wonderfully flavoursome vegetable with a real kick of secret mustard-iness that I appreciate (think a concentrated cabbage stem for first time users). Mashed swede was always my favourite part of my Mum’s traditional Sunday dinner and this soup is like a Sunday dinner in a bowl. I’ve added a hint of mint here, because our Sunday dinners always came with mint sauce.
Swede is always very cheap, probably the cheapest veggie in town and can be used in so many different ways, check out our Swede, Pear and Tahini Salad to name just one! Swede has long been known as the ‘poor mans turnip’ which is surely some form of an insult!!! On my travels around this great globe, I have normally preferred the alleged ‘poor mans’ pickings to the lavish platters of the rich (rich by means normally results in rich OTT foods).
This is proper traditional fare, which is perfect as autumn has arrived with a stormy bang in North Wales. The Beach House is clinging onto Tiger Mountain as the gales and storms (apparently hangovers from some distant hurricanes) are battering us. We’re inside, eating soup mainly and venturing out in the mornings to see if our new apple tree has blown over and to check that our roof is still all there. Soup like this, thick and substantial; using things that grow in the garden and veg patch, are what we love to eat when the nights draw in. Packed with extra nutrition and the antioxidants we need to fight things like colds and other early winter bugs. As ever, trying to keep things simple and local is a great challenge for me! I love food from all over the world and cannot help but lob a little spice and a smidgen of chilli into most of the dishes I cook. This swede soup is stripped to the stem and given a frilly sorrel lining.
The sorrel here grows like wildfire in our garden and we are ever attempting new ways to use it up. In soups and stews it does lose its vibrant green hue, but maintains that lovely punchy, bitter apple like flavour. We stir the leaves in at the end to maintain all their vitality and potency. Use alternate leaves like spinach if sorrel is not growing in your garden or local area. If you’re in the UK, Im sure you’ll find some hanging around hedgerows or woodlands.
Prepare yourselves, for a classic British Sunday dinner, it a bowl!
The Bits – Maks 6 decent bowls
1 tbs oil
750g swede (a mere small chunk out of our behemoth)
2 large celery sticks
(All cut into rough chunks)
2 large sprigs rosemary
1 teas dried mint
4 big handfuls of sorrel (keep a few smaller leaves to make it look nice at the end)
750ml warm vegetable stock (with hot water ready as needed)
Salt (if needed, stock is normally salty to start with)
Nutritional yeast flakes (optional – for added vegan savoury fun)
In a large, heavy bottomed saucepan, warm the oil on medium low heat and add all the veggies at once. Stir and sauté for 5 minutes, then add the stock and rosemary, covering the veggies by roughly 1 inch with liquid. Pop lid on and simmer for 45 minutes until the carrots are soft (they take the longest to cook). Add the dried mint, pick out the rosemary sprigs and blend smooth with a stick blender or pour in batches into a food processor. Stir in the sorrel leaves and pour into bowls immediately.
Scatter a few little sorrel leaves on top to look nice and serve to empty bellies and full hearts. I f you like easy to make bread recipes, try Jane’s Wonder Loaf, preferably toasted and drizzled with rapeseed oil.
Swede comes from guess where?…….its a tough one I know, but the answer is Sweden. It was traditionally grown to feed cattle, lucky cows!
Swede is a member of the cabbage family. It is a great source of nutrients, especially vitamin C and A, making it a perfect autumn boost. It also contains plenty of fibre, potassium and even calcium. It also happens to be low in calories, probably due to its cabbage connections. For all these reasons and because it tastes great, we should all be eating swede like happy cattle. Its just not very cool is all!