March is an evil, fickle month. On Friday it was 67*. Saturday morning it snowed. Sunday it was sunny, but cold and windy. Since the cold weather temps are lingering a bit longer than I would prefer, I’m still in “warm me up” mode. This amounts to lots of coffee, tea and soup. Warmth from the inside out.
On Saturday we hit up the Portland Winter Farmer’s Market. I stumbled upon a big ol’ bag of rutabagas for $3 and snatched it up. Who could resist? Ok, well I suppose some not so enthused by root veggies could, but I could not. I LOVE roasted rutabagas, slightly sweet, with a little bit of spicy bite (almost like a radish). Usually I just cube them up, roast them with some olive oil, salt and pepper and that’s it. This time, given the mass quantity, I knew that soup was in order. But, not just any soup. Soup with BACON.
Somehow the roasty, tangy flavor of the rutabagas complements so well with the smoky goodness of the bacon. I’m sure you could make this with most root veggies (parsnips and turnips come to mind) but I do love a ‘baga. Now, I know bacon isn’t a health food, but four slices spread out over six bowls really isn’t so bad. You get the flavor running through the soup, and the texture from the garnish on top. It’s the perfect way to banish a bacon craving without putting down 6 slices with breakfast.
So, if you’re cold and cranky like me, eat a big bowl of soup. It won’t make you feel like spring, but at least you won’t be freezing from the inside out. The glass is half full.
About five cups of peeled and cubed (1 inch chunks) rutabagas. For me, this was about 4 smallish rutabagas.
1/2 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, diced
1 32 ounce box of low sodium chicken stock
1 cup of low fat milk
4 slices of good quality bacon, chopped
1-2 tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1.) Turn your oven to 425*F. Toss the peeled and chopped rutabagas with a tablespoon or so of olive oil and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Roast for about 30 minutes, until they’re soft and golden.
2.) Meanwhile, heat a large soup pot to medium heat and cook the bacon until pretty crispy, about five minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon (reserve on the side).
3.) Add the onion to the bacon fat in the pot. Cook for about 5 minutes, until sweated out and translucent. Add in the garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes.
4.) At about this time the rutabagas should be done roasting. Scoop them into the pot and add the milk and about half of the stock.. If you have an immersion blender use it to blend. If you’re like me and only have a normal one, blend until smooth in batches. Add more stock as needed to create your desired thickness.
5.) Simmer the soup on medium low for about 20 minutes to combine flavors. Taste test to check for salt and pepper, add more as necessary. If you’re fancy you can use a fine mesh strainer to make it super smooth. I didn’t.
6.) Ladle into bowls and top with a few bits of bacon.