Rutabaga Bisque with Smoked Paprika

rutabaga290

Consider the much overlooked rutabaga: It delivers potassium and fiber at the same rate as the potato, but with nearly twice the vitamin C and half the carbs.  Folks often don’t know what to do with the beefy root vegetable with the gentle apricot-hued flesh. The rutabaga’s slight turnip tang belies its high sugar content, which renders it sweet on the tongue.  Use it as you would a potato and rejoice in the carbs you are saving. This soup pairs the sweetness of rutabaga with the rich flavor of smoked paprika, an inspired match that intensifies the root’s color and lifts the flavor unto the sublime. Adapted with gratitude from Chow.

3 T unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 medium celery stalks, coarsely chopped
½ t salt
1½  pounds rutabaga, peeled and coarsely chopped (about 4 C)
2½  t high-quality smoked paprika
½  t ground white pepper
4 C (1 quart) low-sodium vegetable broth
2 C half-and-half
Coarse salt or salt flakes for garnish

Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Once butter foams, add onion and celery, and season generously with salt. Cover and cook until vegetables are tender but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add rutabaga, paprika, white pepper and mix well with onion and celery. Cover and cook until vegetables are slightly caramelized, about 5 minutes. Add broth, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until rutabaga is tender when pierced with a fork, about an hour. Add half-and-half. Allow soup to cool slightly, then purée until smooth. Taste for seasoning.  Serve hot, garnished with coarse salt or salt flakes.

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