September 18, 2012

Rutabaga soup for an early fall

Yes, I know… summer is winding down.  Soon enough I’ll have to put on proper shoes, throw on a jacket, and loop a scarf around my neck.  Nope… I’m not yet ready for that; nor am I ready for hearty, rich stews that make you feel fuzzy inside and warm you up on a cool autumn evening.  I’ll try to stretch my summer wardrobe into early fall and still enjoy a refreshing summer-spirited Rutabaga Soup! 

Yes, I said soup.  You may argue that I’ve already transitioned into fall.  Well… not so much.  You see, we, Romanians, are soup eaters.  Let me say that again – we are voracious soup eaters.  (I’m actually surprised that I haven’t posted more soup recipes here.  I should revise that.)  When I’m at home in Romania, there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t stuck my face into a bowl of soup.  For us, soup is an everyday affair regardless of season, and we treat it with the utmost respect.  Sometimes, we feel that the world stops altogether if we don’t eat soup; we stop functioning, and we’re like fish out of water.  And then we get our soup fix, we regain control, and the world is suddenly a better place. 

Earlier, I called this Rutabaga Soup that I’m going to tell you about a refreshing summer-spirited soup.  Truth be told, it’s not a summer soup, winter soup, transition soup, or whatever-other-season kind of soup – it’s an all year round soup.  I just called it refreshing and summer-spirited because it refreshes me in the summer; it warms me up in autumn and winter, and wakes up my taste buds in the spring.  That’s all… 

So, here I was at the supermarket the other day treasure hunting for the two most perfect rutabagas, with one to make this colorful soup that same day, and the second to store it in the fridge until the following week for yet another rutabaga soup (by the way, rutabagas store really well in the fridge for more than a week), when an older lady asked me what I was getting.  When I said that it was a rutabaga, she followed up with “and what on earth do you use it for?” 

And then it hit me.  It’s a valid question.  What do you make with such an easy to ignore vegetable?  Few people know what a rutabaga looks like and even fewer people know what you can make with it or how to eat it.  For me as a Romanian, the most obvious way to cook a rutabaga is to turn it into a soup (or to stuff it with meat and pop it in the oven; we’ll talk about that way of cooking rutabagas another time, soon I promise).  What do you do with rutabagas?  Anyone have a killer rutabaga recipe to share?  I’d love to hear from you!

There’s something about this soup and this meek root vegetable, I’m telling you.  During the cooking process, the rutabaga sticks become tender, but not too soft; they still hold their shape, yellowish color, and delicate sweetness.  Now, the rutabaga is speaking to you; it’s not meek and shy anymore, but bold and loud.  The soup is filling, it’s filled with vegetables, it’s bright, it’s light; and then you dive your teeth into those plump egg dumplings, always a plus in my book.  You’ll go for second and third helpings in no time!  

Rutabaga Soup
By Simply Romanesco inspired by my Grandma Vicki

Serves: 8+ servings


·         4 Tablespoons olive oil
·         1 rutabaga, cut into small sticks
·         3 medium carrots, peeled and grated
·         1 medium yellow onion, chopped
·         1 egg
·         All-purpose flour
·         1 egg yolk
·         3 Tablespoons sour cream
·         1 heaped Tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
·         1 heaped Tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
·         Salt


In a large pan, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the carrots, the onion and a good pinch of salt.  Cook the carrots and the onion for about 5 to 6 minutes.  Add the rutabaga sticks, a pinch of salt, and stir well.  Add ¼ cup of water and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes stirring occasionally.  Add water to fill up the pan.  Season with salt.  Bring to a boil.  Turn the heat down and simmer for about 15 minutes.  

For the dumplings:  Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat the egg with 1 Tablespoon of water.  Gradually add flour, 1 Tablespoon at a time, and mix well until you get a thick, sticky consistency (you’ll probably need about 5 to 7 Tablespoons of flour) to make the dumplings.

Turn the heat to medium for a gentle simmer; using a spoon, add the dumplings (about 1/8 of a teaspoon each, the dumplings will triple in size, don’t worry) to the soup.  (If the dumplings don’t immediately surface to the top, your dough may need more flour.)  Turn the heat down and cook for 10-15 minutes until the dumplings are cooked through.     

When the dumplings are cooked, turn the heat off.  In a small bowl, mix the sour cream with the egg yolk and about 1 ladle of soup; mix well.  Add the mixture to the soup and stir well.  Sprinkle with dill and parsley on top.

Note:  Let the soup cool completely before you put it in the fridge.

Poftă Bună! (Bon Appétit!)     


  1. I can wholeheartedly attest to the fact that Romanians are voracious soup eaters. One of my favorite things about visiting Romania and dining with Romanian families was that nearly every meal had a soup course. I was in heaven. Soup is probably my favorite class of foods -- so versatile, so warm, so comforting! And Romanians definitely cook some scrumptious soups. I can't wait to try this one out. Thanks!

    1. Hi Cara! Thank you so much for the lovely comment and sharing your experience with the Romanian families and culture. And you're so right; we definitely love our soup and we love to put on a soup feast, every day! :)

  2. Hi Dana! I've never cooked with rutabaga but this soup looks delicious! My family loved your new fancy omelet recipe!

    1. Hi NY Girl! I'm so happy that your family loved the new omelette recipe! I think that you would also enjoy the rutabaga soup. It's such an understated vegetable but it makes some delicious dishes :)