This is a delicious soup great for the winter months – and as a twist on something “Irish” for St. Patrick’s Day.
On cold winter nights, few things are more soothing and satisfying than a delicious and creamy vegetable soup. It can also be a great way to use up various odds and ends of vegetables you have in your fridge – a situation I found myself in recently. With a vacation trip coming in a few days, I had a lot of great vegetables I didn’t want to spoil while I was away. So, why not come up with a tasty new soup to use them all?
This recipe features a lot of earthy, tasty vegetables which are great to enjoy in the winter months. Kohlrabi adds a gentle nutty taste (somewhere between broccoli stems and cabbage), as do the parsnips. Mushrooms add a richness to the vegetable broth. The fresh herbs at the end and the wilted spinach and arugula add a touch of green to the soup – making it even a perfect choice for a St. Patrick’s Day party or meal! The soup was also a perfect showcase for a wonderful Irish cheese called Erin Gold I had on hand to enjoy thanks to the Gourmet Cooking & Living Cheese of the Month Club.
Just as I improvised this recipe combination based on what I had available, so can you. While the potatoes, leeks, and kohlrabi are essential for the flavor base, many other elements can be adjusted depending on what you have on hand: carrots instead of parsnips (though it will affect your soup’s color), different varieties of mushrooms, adding some celery, etc.
I recommend a mild cheese for grating on top at the end – I had a wonderful (and timely) “Erin Gold” Irish cheese from the Gourmet Cooking & Living Cheese of the Month club which I belong to. But any mild cheddar should do nicely as well. If you have the time while the soup is cooking, toast up some homemade croutons to serve on top of the soup as well – or perhaps serve it with some nice crusty bread on the side.
This soup can easily be made vegetarian by leaving out the bacon and simply using more butter in the initial cooking steps. However, I like the smoky-rich flavor that the bacon adds.
Potato and Kohlrabi Soup
- 2 ounces bacon (preferably slab), diced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 leeks (white and light green parts only), thoroughly washed and sliced
- 2 parsnips, peeled and sliced
- 6 small shallots, sliced
- 1 green bell pepper, cored and diced
- 8 ounces Baby Bella Mushrooms, sliced
- 1 kohlrabi bulb, peeled and diced small
- 4 medium white potatoes, peeled and diced
- 14.5 ounce can vegetable broth (or homemade vegetable stock)
- 2 cups whole milk
- 6 ounces fresh spinach and baby arugula salad mix
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
- Fresh ground pepper
- Garlic powder
- Cayenne pepper
- Erin Gold cheese (or other mild cheddar cheese), shredded
Prepare your mise en place by assembling all ingredients and peeling, slicing and dicing vegetables and bacon as required.
In a deep non-stick stock pot, saute bacon and melt butter over medium-high heat, about 2 minutes. (If making the soup vegetarian, leave out bacon and use an extra 2 tablespoons of butter, or pure vegetable oil from the start.)
Add the shallots, leeks, green pepper and parsnip to the pot. Stir and saute over strong heat for 3 minutes
Add mushrooms, kohlrabi and potatoes to the pot. Toss well over heat, adding salt, garlic powder and thyme (about 1/2 teaspoon) to season. Cook for 4-5 minutes until mushrooms are softening and bulk is starting to reduce, stirring regularly.
Add vegetable stock and stir to combine. Taste and adjust salt, thyme and add fresh ground pepper. Cook over simmering heat until potatoes are softened and ready to eat, about 20 minutes (the kohlrabi can stay a little firm to the tooth, you don’t want to cook all of the flavor out of it!).
Add in the milk and warm through – avoid boiling it.
Pour soup mixture into a food processor and blend until thoroughly combined, but it can remain a little chunky. Return soup to pot on stove and re-warm as necessary.
Add in spinach/arugula mix and a sprinkling cayenne pepper. Stir through and cook until spinach is done.
Check seasoning and adjust as necessary to your tastes.
Ladle soup into serving bowls and top each with chopped parsley and shredded cheese, if desired. Enjoy!