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Macomber turnip soup

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November 19, 2007

Serves 6

4 slices bacon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
2 Macomber turnips, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
1 russet or other starchy potato, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
6 cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup skinned or unskinned hazelnuts
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons maple syrup, or to taste
1. Set the oven at 375 degrees.

2. In a large flameproof casserole, render the bacon over medium-low heat until the bacon is golden. Drain on paper towels; set aside. Remove all but 1 tablespoon fat from the pan.

3. Turn the heat to medium. Add the butter to the pan and when it melts, add the onion. Cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes or until softened. Add the thyme and cook 2 minutes more.

4. Add the turnips and the potato and stir well. Add the stock, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer the soup for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

5. Meanwhile, on a rimmed baking sheet, toast the hazelnuts for 12 minutes, shaking the pan several times, until the nuts are brown. If you used unskinned nuts, pile them in a clean, worn kitchen towel (this makes a mess) and rub the hazelnuts until the skins fall off. In either case, chop the nuts coarsely.

6. In a blender, puree the soup in batches until it is smooth, and return it to the pan. Stir in the cream. Add the maple syrup and taste for seasoning; add more maple syrup to bring out the sweetness of the turnips, or salt and pepper, if you like. Return the soup to a simmer.

7. Crumble the bacon. Ladle the soup into bowls. Garnish with bacon and hazelnuts. Leigh Belanger

Macomber turnips (Wendy Maeda / Globe staff)

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