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Kevin Gillespie's Root Vegetable Soup

Kevin Gillespie's new cookbook, Fire in my Belly, is out now. We'll be sharing recipes from the cookbook in coming weeks.

When it was cold outside, my granny made vegetable soup from whatever root vegetables were available. I use rutabagas, carrots, sunchokes, turnips, and parsnips here. If you don’t have one of those, leave it out and replace it with more of a root vegetable you do have. The important thing is to dice all the vegetables the same size so they cook quickly and evenly before the liquid is added. -- Kevin Gillespie 

Kevin Gillespie
Ingredients
Pancetta or unsmoked bacon - 8 ounces, cut into 1⁄4-inch dice
Onions - 2 1⁄2 cups cut into 1⁄4-inch dice
Rutabaga - 1 1⁄4 cups peeled and cut into 1⁄4-inch dice
Celery - 1 cup cut into 1⁄4-inch dice
Carrots - 2/3 cup peeled and cut into 1⁄4-inch dice
Sunchokes (Jerusalem artichokes) - 1 1⁄4 cups cut into 1⁄4-inch dice
Turnips - 1 1⁄4 cups peeled and cut into 1⁄4-inch dice
Parsnips - 1 cup peeled and cut into 1⁄4-inch dice
Garlic - 4 large cloves, thinly sliced on a mandoline
Chicken stock - 6 cups
Espelette pepper - 1 teaspoon
Salt - 2 teaspoons
Baby turnip greens - 1 bunch sliced into chiffonade (thin strips), about 4 cups
Lemon - 1
Fresh flat-leaf parsley - about 1⁄4 cup minced
Fresh chives - about 1⁄4 cup very thinly sliced
Celery - leaves about 1⁄4 cup minced

Instructions

1. Heat a large enameled cast-iron pot or other soup pot over medium heat. Add the pancetta, stir, and cook until the pancetta is golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the onions, rutabaga, celery, and carrots and cook until the vegetables start to soften and the onions become translucent, about 6 minutes, stirring now and then. Add the sunchokes, turnips, and parsnips and cook for an additional 8 minutes, stirring a few times. Stir in the garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the chicken stock, Espelette pepper, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cut the heat down to low, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes. The vegetables should be just tender.

2. Remove the pot from the heat, and stir in the turnip greens and about 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Taste and season as needed with additional salt and lemon juice. Ladle into bowls and garnish with the parsley, chives, and celery leaves.

*Prep Tip: Don’t be tempted to mince the garlic here. It should be sliced. If you mince it, the small pieces will cook faster and develop a bitter taste. The slices also contribute to the texture of the soup. If you want to make the soup ahead, prepare it up to the point of simmering the vegetables in the seasoned stock. Cool it down, and refrigerate it for up to 2 days. Then reheat the soup and add the greens and lemon juice just before serving and garnishing.

MORE RECIPES TO COMPLETE THE MEAL
The side: Eggplant Hash
The dessert: Warm Plum Crisp with Vanilla Custard
>> Or, check out our complete Southern recipes file 

ABOUT KEVIN GILLESPIE

An Atlanta native, Chef Kevin Gillespie began his culinary education at the Art Institute of Atlanta. Gillespie is currently working on two cookbooks that he is writing with best-selling cookbook author David Joachim. The first book, called Fire in My Belly, will be released in October 2012, and the second will be released in the fall of 2014. Fire in My Belly will include more than 120 recipes that celebrate quality ingredients and mirror the kitchen at Woodfire Grill but are developed specifically for home cooks.

>> Read his complete biography

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Copyright 2012, Emmis Publishing
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