Bonjours, mes amis! And welcome back to The Kitchen @ Mised Out.
We took a bit of a hiatus. Travel, apple picking, and website upgrades are all (more or less) behind us. And we’re back with a terrific new soup recipe this week.
Savoyarde means “from Savoy”, a breath-taking region nestled at the foot of the Alps. Savoy sits between Switzerland, Italy, and France. Perhaps surprising to some, Savoy was part of the Kingdom of Sardinia (part of modern-day Italy) until the mid-19th century. 1860 to be exact. What we think of as France today was still being formed 150 years ago.
This soup is hearty, warming, and incredibly satisfying. Just what you’d expect from a mountain region speciality.
Soupe Savoyarde is a vegetable, milk-based winter soup, which makes it particularly attractive for those looking to reduce their meat consumption. Generous use of root veggies (including turnips, celery root, and potato) add a surprisingly sweet taste. And grilled bread topped with gruyère cheese produces a hearty main course for cool autumn or winter suppers.
The soup takes slightly more than an hour to cook. For some of us, that may be too much for a weeknight meal – but it’s definitely worth the effort on a weekend night. This is also one of those soups that gets better (the turnips and other veggies mellow in taste) if it sits in the refrigerator overnight, so if you plan meals in advance this is one to make a day ahead. Complete as-is, the only thing you might want as an accompaniment is a simple, crisp green salad with a slightly acidic (lemon, vinegar) dressing.
The recipe comes from Anne Willan’s fantastic The Country Cooking of France. British-born Willan is a noted expert in French cooking, having published more than 15 cookbooks and having founded the famed École de Cuisine La Varenne cooking school in Paris. I return to this cookbook again and again – learning something new each time. Although no longer in print – so sadly not available in The Shop @ Mised Out – this is definitely worth searching for in a used book store.
And now chers lecteurs, allons-nous cuisiner!
- 3 turnips about 12 ounces
- 1 small celery root about 12 ounces
- 2 large potatoes, peeled and sliced about 1 pound
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 leeks, white and green parts, thinly sliced about 1 ½ pounds
- Salt and pepper
- 2 C water
- 2 ½ C milk
- 12 croûtes, made with 1 slim baguette and fried in 4 tbsp butter
- 5 oz Tomme de savoie or gruyère cheese
- Peel the turnips, quarter them, and then slice ½ inch thick. Peel the celery root, cut into 8 wedges, and then slice the wedges crosswise ½ inch think. Peel the potatoes, cut them into small chunks ½ inch thick, and put in a bowl of cold water to cover.
- Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft but not browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the turnips, celery root, and leeks, season with salt and pepper, and press a piece of aluminum foil on the vegetables. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to very low, and sweat the vegetables, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 20 minutes.
- Drain the potatoes, stir them into the vegetables, and add the water. Cover the pot again and simmer until the vegetables start to get tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Bring the milk almost to a boil in a small saucepan, add it to the soup, and taste for seasoning. Cover and continue simmering gently until the vegetables are very tender, 15 to 20 minutes. If the milk is boiled hard, it will curdle. Taste again and adjust the seasoning. The soup may be kept for a day or two in the refrigerator, where the flavor will mellow nicely.
- To finish, make the croûtes. Reheat the soup if necessary. Put the croûtes in warmed soup bowls and top with the cheese slices. Pour over the soup and serve at once so the cheese just melts and the croûtes remain crisp.