Last weekend I received my first winter vegetable CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) food box. As a CSA member, I paid a set fee prior to the growing season and in return I receive ‘shares’ in the form of delicious local, organic produce from the farm’s harvest. Of course, I also share in the risks with the farmer, like poor weather. Since winter vegetables store well, I receive a variety of veggies every three weeks. The variety inspires me in the kitchen to try new recipes and cook with what we have available to us in the winter months.
I was so excited when I received my box of goodies. I felt like a kid coming home from a night of trick or treating, but instead of candy, it was vegetables - boy how times have changed! In my box were potatoes, onions, garlic, carrots, beets, leeks, parsnips, celeriac, squash (butternut, orange and delicata), rutabagas, kale, collards and parsley. So many ideas and recipes to try!
There were a few veggies that I am not too familiar cooking with - surprisingly, one being the potato. Whether it was the low-carb diet phase or being fed too many as a child, I tend to avoid potatoes (unless they are deep fried of course!). It was now time to jump into the world of potatoes.
Since I had leeks, a natural place to start was with potato leek soup. I also had celeriac, so I made potato celeriac mash. The addition of celeriac really brightens up the flavour. Give these potato recipes a try. They are simple and showcase the great flavours we have even in the winter. Check back for more recipes using local winter vegetables as I cook my way through my CSA boxes.
Potato Leek Soup
2 leeks (white and pale green parts), cut lengthwise and wash well
1 tbsp or so of butter
2 cloves garlic, crushed
thyme, dry or fresh, to taste
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup white wine
5 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
4 cups vegetable broth
Melt butter in a pot over medium heat. Add cleaned, chopped leeks. Let leeks cook in the butter for a few minutes. Add garlic, thyme, salt and pepper and continue to cook until soft, a total of about 12 minutes. Pour in wine and let reduce.
Add potatoes and broth. Bring a boil, and let simmer until potatoes are soft.
Puree soup until smooth. Garnish with parsley, black pepper and a little paprika.
Potato and Celeriac Mash
1 small celeriac, trimmed and diced
4 medium potatoes, scrubbed and diced
Salt and Pepper
Use roughly 2/3 potatoes to 1/3 celeriac.
Trim and dice celeriac.
Scrub potatoes and dice (I kept the skins on). The smaller the veggies are diced, the shorter the cooking time.
Cover potatoes with salted water and bring to a boil. Let boil a few minutes before adding celeriac. Boil until potatoes and celeriac are fork tender.
Drain and return to same pot. Stir/mash and allow any excess moisture to evaporate. Add in a splash of milk and a knob of butter. Season with salt and pepper and mash until you reach the consistency you desire. I like mine a little chunky.
These recipes are hearty and perfect for a cold fall or winter day. Enjoy!