Kohlrabi Soup

Thus far I’ve been catering to those of us who maybe don’t have the snazziest of kitchen tools at our disposal, and I promise to continue doing so, but I have a confession… This Christmas I got a wonderful, wonderful gift from someone (you know who you are–THANK YOU): an immersion hand blender with a bajillion accessories. This thing is part blender, part food processor, and part hand mixer. It’s pretty badass. It’s opened up my world to an endless array of recipes that I’ve been wanting to try, but was reluctant to because the sad little blender my roommate and I had was broken.

It came at the perfect time, too. While home for the holidays in Chicago, I had dinner at Girl and the Goat. Let me just say this was one of the best meals I’ve had in my life. I could go on and on, but you should actually just go there. The real point of this story is to tell you about kohlrabi, a turnip-like vegetable that’s a distant relative of the cabbage family. I’ve seen these bulbs at the market for a while, but could never think of what to put them in or how to cook them. At Girl and the Goat, they have a lovely kohlrabi salad, in which it is served raw, sliced very thin with a creamy pear-ginger dressing (DROOL). It was great, obviously, so I decided when I got home to New York I needed to do a blog post about them. Wanting to inaugurate my flashy new hand-blender, I thought kohlrabi soup, a Hungarian staple, would be the ideal vehicle for my first experiment. Here it is:
1 lb. kolhrabi, peeled and chopped into 1/4 in. cubes
1/2 small onion, roughly chopped
2 cups. vegetable or chicken stock
1 1/2 cups. whole milk
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp. flour
a pinch of paprika
salt

Put the butter in a large pot on low-medium heat, and chop the onion while it’s melting. Don’t worry too much about the size of the chop on the onions, the hand blender (!) and sieve will take care of that later.
When the butter has melted, add the onions and cook until they are translucent and soft, about 7-10 minutes on low heat. Add the bay leaf, a tiny pinch of salt, and the flour, too.
While the onions are cooking, peel and chop the kohlrabi into 1/4 in cubes. I like to use my knife to take off the outer layer of skin, because it’s a bit tough for a peeler.
Be sure to cut out any tough or discolored bits, then slice the kohlrabi into 1/4 in thick discs, then into sticks 1/4 in wide, and then into the cubes. All three steps are shown from left to right below:
Add the paprika and kohlrabi to the pot with the onions, and cook 5-7 minutes, or until tender.
Now measure out your veggie or chicken stock, along with the milk, and add both to the pot. Cover and let simmer on low heat for about 25 minutes.
After 25 minutes, check to see that the kohlrabi pieces are tender, and if they are, remove the bay leaf and pour the soup into a blender or container for hand-blending. Use a high speed so that you can blend most of the onion and kohlrabi pieces out, though there will still be some noticeable bits before you strain the soup.
1-2 minutes of blending should be enough to get out most of the lumps out, but pass it through a sieve to ensure that you remove any leftover bits of onion and kohlrabi. You can use the back of a spoon to work the soup through the sieve. Once it has been strained, and has a smooth, creamy texture, serve it with a pinch of paprika and chive on top for garnish. This would be a great starter for any meal.

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