winter veggie soup

It was the first snowstorm of 2016 on the East Coast USA, and predicted to be a record breaking storm quickly named Blizzardaggedon or Snowmaggedon 2016 with far more hype than usual from our extensive local TV news coverage. And conveniently arriving on a  January Saturday so most people could follow the common sense advice to just stay in all day and wait till the snow would stop Sunday before venturing out. This occasion called for some comfort food experimentation and the NYTimes had just provided the right dish to try out a few days before: a winter vegetable pureed soup. Of course the photo looked great (professional food photography) and was also topical since carrot soup had just been in bob's head during this period, but too often carrot soup can be a bit too sweet, so its demotion to only one of many ingredients was right on the mark.

But would the execution live up to the expectation delivered by the inspiring color photo and the list of ingredients, backed up by the author's chatting up of the recipe? YES! This turned out to be a real winner, which will be repeated frequently, even for formal dinners with friends and family where we want to serve only the best tasting food that we are capable of producing. Of course a good winter soup needs a good carb to dip into it, so we resorted to our reliable whole wheat focaccia, increasing its impact by coating the dough generously with extra virgin olive oil on both sides before baking and sprinkling with coarse sea salt as recommended by Food Network chef Anne Burell. Bringing up memories of salty pretzels as we chowed it down with the soup. After sharing portions of both with several of our town home neighbors. Good food is meant to be shared, even if not at the same table.


3 large leeks (1 to 1 1/2 pounds), white parts only, cleaned and sliced 1/2 inch thick (oops, we were out, so used onion instead)
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 large carrots (10 ounces), diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 large or 2 medium turnips (10 ounces), peeled and diced
1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and diced (we used Yukon gold)
a bouquet garni made with a bay leaf and a few sprigs each thyme and parsley
1 1/2 qt water
2-3 T salt and black pepper
1/4 cup crème fraîche for finishing, more to taste


  1.  Prep and combine all the ingredients except the last in the list in a big soup pot and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 40--45 minutes until the veggies are soft.
  2. Puree with an immersion blender.
  3. Whisk in 1/4 c creme fraiche (or more to your taste) and then reheat, adjusting the spices, and don't be afraid to be generous with the salt and pepper.
  4. Garnish each serving with some freshly chopped parsley or tarragon and a spoonful of creme fraiche.


  1. Winter Vegetable Soup With Turnips, Carrots, Potatoes and Leeks [story] by Martha Rose Shulman courtesy of the NYTimes. Which we served with Whole Wheat Focaccia, a recipe of hers similar to our own  from King Arthur which we actually made.
  2. A good partner is freshly bakcd whole wheat focaccia.
  3. Illustrations available.
winterveggiesoup.htm: 24-jan-2016 [what, ME cook? © 1984 dr bob enterprises]