Root Vegetable Bisque

With fall upon us, root vegetables are available in the height of their freshness. In this recipe, ingredients such as turnips, long since thought of as working mans’ cuisine are transformed into a rich and delicate palette pleasing bisque.

2 lbs turnips
2 lbs yams
1 qt of low sodium chicken stock
2 shallots – chopped
3 cloves garlic – rough slice
3 tbs olive oil
2 leeks, cleaned and cut into circles, some for the bisque, some to garnish.
5 bay leaves
1 sprig of tarragon, plus some additional for garnish
1 tbs maple syrup
Salt to taste
1/4 cup yogurt
1/4 lb pancetta

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Peel and slice yams and turnips.
Toss yams and turnips on 2 tbs of olive oil.
Place on sheet pan and place in oven until they start to brown
In a large stockpot add 1 tbs olive oil, shallots, and garlic over medium high heat, cook until the onions turn translucent.
Add yams, turnips, and chicken stock. Bring to a high simmer.
Add 1/4 cup of leeks, bay leaves, and 1 sprig of tarragon.
Simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, until the middle of your largest root vegetable is tender.
Remove from heat and add the mixture to a Food Processor in increments. It will probably take 3 to 4 rounds to puree all the ingredients.
Add the puree back to the stockpot.
Add maple syrup and salt.
In a frypan, add the pancetta and cook until crispy. Remove from heat and place pancetta on a paper towel to dry.
Add the remaining leeks to the frypan, turn the heat to medium/low and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, until leeks are tender.
Crumble the pancetta.
Finely chop any remaining tarragon
Just prior to serving add the yogurt to the bisque and stir well.

To serve, add the bisque to your bowl, top with leek rings pancetta crumbles, and finely chopped tarragon.

Any starchy vegetable will work well with this recipe, be it potatoes, carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, beets, or parsnips. However, if you use parsnip, be sure to trim out the core of larger roots, as they tend to be overly bitter.

Nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon, in small quantities, can turn this particular dish into a pumpkin pie flavored soup.

In order to be a traditional bisque, it is ideal to use fish, lobster, or clam stock. However, it is not readily available in low sodium varieties. Feel free to substitute ocean based stock if desired.

6 comments to Root Vegetable Bisque

  • Kim-the-girl

    I admit I had to do a search to find out what pancetta was, but I still have no idea where I would buy it…

    We recently bought turnips and tried them for the first time in mashed potatoes. It added a fun zing without hurting the texture of my beloved potatoes. :)

    We've been having cooler weather here the last week, it might be a good time to try this…

  • Cook with Tom

    That's great to hear Kim, I LOVE roasted turnips. The roasting process really softens the harshness of the root, and helps develop the sugars.

    Pancetta is available in your local supermarket in the deli section. They usually cut it to order. I like to get it REALLY thin as it allows for the meat to crisp up easier. If you can't find pancetta, go for regular ole American bacon. They're both cured pork meat, but bacon comes from the stomach of the pig, and pancetta comes from the loin.

  • G'pa and G'ma Woody

    Well, aren't you just FUN!!! This sounds VERY interesting!!! You need to have Ali put you on her sidebar so we know when you have new recipes.

    I might actually try this some day when I am not doing school and school!!! love, Tom's Mom

  • aLi

    Mom, he is on my sidebar but for some reason my blogroll doesn't "detect" his blog feed. So you just have to remember to check it occassionally.

    Sorry Tom, I would just tell Mom over the phone but I always forget to.

    Tom these dishes look like Iron-Chef material. I don't know if I can attempt them. And I admit I am scared to eat turnips.

  • Cook with Tom

    Ali, you'll do great with the turnips. They develop a mellow sweet flavor after roasting. You'll love it.

    I'll email you instructions on the best way to "add" my food blog to your sidebar.

  • G'pa and G'ma Woody

    Thank you, Ali, for getting Tom on your sidebar! I haven't checked his blog for days…and lookee here! A bunch of new recipes! In a few short years I am going to retire and give these a shot. I used to like to cook. :)

    Love, Mom

    Ps…great recipe Tom. I am a BIG question mark on the parsnips, though. They bring on a childhood nightmare. :(

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