Seasonal Eats: Rutabaga and beer soup from Chef Jacqueline Jolliffe, Stone Soup Foodworks

Chef Jacqueline Jolliffe’s comforting soup features rutabaga, other seasonal vegetables and dark winter beer.
Photo: Farmanac (via Flickr, Creative Commons 2.0 License, Attribution, Non-Commercial

Frigid, freezing, biting, bitter, numbing, teethchattering cold – all describe the last six or so weeks in Ottawa.  The days may be getting longer, but we’re still in hibernation mode and craving comfort food.

This stick-to-the-ribs soup from Chef Jacqueline Jolliffe is just the ticket. The robust flavour of root vegetables combined with dark, winter beer really hits the spot when temperatures plunge, Jolliffe says.

“This soup takes advantage of the fact that root vegetables like rutabaga, carrots and potatoes keep into the winter months,” she notes. “It’s thick and hearty and has a hint of deep bittersweet in it that’s really comforting. Top it with homemade croutons, some nice old cheddar and Italian parsley. Bacon is also pretty great on this one!”

About Jacqueline Jolliffe

Jolliffe is passionate about teaching the lost skills of chopping, cooking and preserving what she describes as “real food grown in real soil by real people.” An avid cook and environmentalist, she owns Stone Soup Foodworks, a food truck that specializes in fresh, healthy lunches and sustainable catering. (Check out her recipe for potato and leek soup here.)

Come May or June, she’ll open a café as part of The West End Well, a new social enterprise co-operative that will include a small organic grocery store, and space for activities such as community cooking classes and workshops on sustainable living.

Rutabaga and beer soup

Allow 1.5 to 2 hours for prep and cooking

Serves 6-8 as a hearty lunch

2 tbsp butter

1 tbsp butter

1 tsp salt

2 onions, sliced

2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into ½ inch slices

2 ribs celery, sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 head roast garlic

2 pounds rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

1 tsp dried winter savoury

2 bottles dark winter beer

2 litres vegetable stock

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Preheat oven to 375° F.

Place rutabaga, ¼ tsp salt and the beer in a deep roasting pan or 8.5” X11” pan. Dot with 1 tbsp butter and roast 45 minutes in the oven, covering with foil for 35 minutes, then removing the foil for 15-20 minutes to begin a caramelizing process. The rutabaga should be soft.

Roast the garlic at the same time. Cut off the top of the garlic head, drizzle with a little olive oil and wrap in foil and put in the oven for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, begin caramelizing onions with remaining salt in a large pot. When onions begin to soften, add carrots and celery and cook until the vegetables begin to brown.  Add minced garlic and cider vinegar. Cook for one minute. Add potatoes and vegetable stock and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.

Once the potatoes are soft, add the rutabaga and liquid to the soup.  Blend with an immersion blender until very smooth. You may need to add more stock or water to adjust the thickness, depending on the size of the vegetables.

Adjust seasoning, serve and garnish.

What winter dish helps you keep off the chill?

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