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Recreating Winter Soup

When I was in college, it was a treat to go to the Corner Room in State College to get a bowl of their ‘Winter Soup. ’ It came with some sort of crusty bread, and that along with a bottomless cup of coffee often was my lunch, which I enjoyed while people watching on College Avenue.  Everything in the soup was white – potatoes, cauliflower, onions and garlic- and it was creamy without being full of cream.  I’ve tried recreating the recipe a number of times and haven’t really nailed it, but I have created some slightly altered versions that my family enjoys.  One day, I’ll go back to the Corner Room (if it’s still there) and see if I can get another bowl of soup like the ones I enjoyed 30+ years ago, but in the meantime, I will keep  making my own versions using whatever winter vegetables I have.  Here’s the most recent. Quantities are variable depending on what’s in the fridge, and of course you can alter it depending on which flavors you like better. The stick blender allows you to get that creamy texture without adding a bunch of dairy products. Also, this soup doesn’t use any fresh or dried herbs, allowing the earthy flavor of the vegetables to stand on their own. 

Winter Soup
olive oil for sautéing
1 large onion
2-3 cloves garlic
½ medium Nantucket turnip
1 small head of cauliflower
A couple carrots
4-5 medium boiling potatoes
vegetable stock
Salt and Pepper to taste

Rough chop all vegetables. In a Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed pot, sauté the onions in the olive oil for about 5 minutes until they are soft and beginning to caramelize. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes.  Add the vegetables, one type at a time and keep stirring, coating them with the oil/onion mix.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Once the vegetables are all in the pot, add enough vegetable stock to cover the veggies about half way.  Add water to bring the liquid level up to where it is barely covering the vegetables.

Let simmer until all the vegetables are tender.  Blend, using a stick blender, until all the chunks have disappeared.  Keep warm and serve with a hunk of warm fresh bread.